12 e-Letters

published between 2017 and 2020

  • Response to Kamath et al 'A syncretic approach can yield dividends'

    Dear Editor,

    We welcome the response from Kamath et al and their insight into the issues and culture within medicine in India, and their thoughts about how to address these issues. We also agree that a drama-based approach is not sufficient on its own to deal with entrenched power issues which affect students adversely. As we have indicated, we believe “a multipronged approach is needed to generate systemic change.” These authors similarly advocate that student mistreatment be dealt with “in a comprehensive manner” including a ‘grievance redressal system’ and other measures to withhold accreditation where there are issues of abuse of power.

    Nevertheless, we note that Kamath et al have responded positively to our approach—as a part of that mix—and it would be of great interest to see whether drama-based workshops could support medical students developing embodied acting skills in their institution and whether they may have similar transformative effects. We’d like to refer the authors to an excellent Medical Humanities paper we referenced that outlined drama-based activities in medical education in India: Gupta S, Singh S. Confluence: understanding medical humanities through street theatre. Medical Humanities. 2011;37(2):127-128.

    Despite the above article, the authors note that medical education in India has not embraced the medical humanities. We would draw a distinction within the medical humanities between activities which are primarily studious (re...

    Show More
  • A syncretic approach can yield dividends

    Dear editor,

    We read with great interest “Grace Under Pressure: a drama-based approach to tackling mistreatment of medical students”,Scott et al, in the March 2017 issue.The percentages of medical students in American and Australian settings who faced discrimination, harassment and “teaching by humiliation” were pretty significant.

    An observation that we would like to make is that we feel that the form of intervention outlined in this paper would be of even more relevance in Indian settings,where one has the additional influences of patriarchal and sometimes misogynistic beliefs and practices, caste hierarchies,a culture of marked deference to seniors,and starkly contrasting socio-economic backgrounds.To add to the mix,the regulatory environment in which medical institutions function in India is already a compromised one.The Medical Council of India has been widely panned for corruption,with an Indian parliamentary committee report calling it a “club” of influential medical practitioners who act without any fear of governance and regulations.1A sitting Union health minister has been no less scathing.2When this is the situation with regard to compliance with “hard” requirements like infrastructure,manpower,equipment and admission criteria,one would have to be a die-hard optimist to believe that what is perceived as a “soft” issue like student mistreatment would get the attention that it deserves on a large scale.A significant number of students who face...

    Show More