From jury duty to hospital committees, our institutions depend on the people of this country for community and public service. Although trying and often time consuming, this service is usually provided in good humor and with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, community service has recently earned a less lofty reputation. As punishment for miscreants, community service follows right after sincere regrets and rehabilitation for substance abuse in the “stations of the celebrity.” As documented in the news reports, for students applying for admission to top colleges, “voluntary” community service is no less a formal requirement than good grades or SAT scores.
You Might Also Like
Explore This IssueAugust 2007
Also By This Author
Certain forms of community service can be onerous but I often take pleasure in jury duty despite the time imposition. The joy is not due to just the proximity of Chinatown and its delightful restaurants to the courts in Manhattan. It is interesting to see professionals of a different sort work and take part in a process that is critical to the proper functioning of civil society. Similarly, the drudgery of committee work at my medical center has its gratifications: the satisfaction of a job well done and the sense that the commonweal has been served are their own form of recompense. Needless to say, I get a lot of this sort of satisfaction.
Letters to the the Editor: Feedback from our Readers
I enjoyed Dr. Cronstein’s recent article about pharma and CME [“Cost of a Free Lunch,” May 2007, p.4], but wondered if he or others had comments regarding the equally (or more?) disturbing issue of our own “colleagues” traveling hither and yon across the country at the behest (and reward) of pharma to educate clinicians about various therapies – including some (i.e., anti-TNF inhibitors) that have been around for a while. Don’t meetings and publications provide the same information for us? Should primary care physicians be prescribing these medications at all? Talk about influence and marketing….
Paul H. Waytz, MD, Rheumatologist, Private Practice Arthritis and Rheumatology Consultants, Minneapolis, Minn.
To Serve or Not To Serve?
However, my ambivalence to the claims of public service was recently reinforced by an event that has left me troubled. Several months ago, I was asked to serve on the advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that was tasked with reviewing the evidence for approval of a new COX2 inhibitor (Arcoxia) from Merck. When initially invited to serve on this committee, I did not think that I had any conflicts of interest. I had spoken for Merck five or six years ago and edited a Web site sponsored by Merck that went under four or five years ago. Since then, I had had little contact with the company.