Although we realize that David Lat's April 29th editorial ("Hypocritical Society," Dartboard, Apr. 30) was perhaps just Saturday morning fun, we, writing on behalf of the Hippocratic Society, would like to respond. We agree with his caricature, albeit exaggerated, of the four-color-pen-carrying, grade-grubbing, Cabot-inhabiting pre-med, and we think that this is a perfect reason why we need a Hippocratic Society at Harvard.
Lat states it himself as eloquently as we could: "Perhaps there is something more to life as a pre-med than organic chemistry, four-color pens and Cabot Science Library. Perhaps pre-meds are capable of doing something other than working in their labs, cramming for exams and bragging about the difficulty of their classes to all people who aren't pre-meds."
Lat has cleverly hit upon the very reason why the Hippocratic Society was founded: We have found that the Harvard pre-med curriculum does indeed foster a sense of competition, which creates an environment which is largely self-serving. The curriculum does not help us address the moral and social questions which we will face in a morally and socially demanding profession. The Hippocratic Society is a discussion group that invites doctors, professors and others from the community to fulfill this need. Hopefully, these speakers will be the "role models" that Lat claims we lack.
As for Lat's prediction that our society will "perhaps meet once, maybe twice," we would like to take this opportunity to announce that our third meeting will be held in the Winthrop House Owen Room, on May 8th at 6:00pm. Dr. Murray Heflant will speak about his frustrations as a neurosurgeon stationed in Japan during the Vietnam War. Our fourthmeeting, scheduled for the week of the 15th, will feature Dr. Susan Pauker of Harvard Medical School, an expert on genetic testing and its ethical and social implications. The Hippocratic Society
P.S. We'd like to make it clear, despite what Lat says, that the Hippocratic Society does not exist just for pre-meds to put it on their resumes. We welcome all pre-law and preinvestment banking students to come and put it on their resumes as well.