I only go to lecture if lunch is provided  

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This was adapated from a post I wrote as a medical student:

Background: at least 2-3 times a week, a student group hosts a lunchtime talk at the med school that provides free food. The med students swarm to the talk, regardless of the topic, to take advantage of the free food. Any leftover food is put in the common areas, and is quickly gone. In fact, we have designated medical students to send out emails to the classes when free food is discovered in the common areas. If a talk does not provide lunch or dinner, or at the very least, snacks, attendance drops precipitously, and we all know why.

Now, an interesting email from two of my classmates:

“Hi everyone,

  • How persuasive do you find the words “lunch will be provided”?
  • Have you ever wondered why food seems to be such an integral part of our medical curriculum? And the effect that might have on your expectations?
  • Does the moral foundation of medicine make us more “important” than other members of society?
  • We’d like to invite you to take part in an informal discussion on the culture of entitlement in medical education.Topics addressed during this meeting will include: Food (is it a form of compensation? Should it be seen that way?); Income (are physicians paid too little? Too much?); Pharmaceutical Conflicts of Interest (are we being bred to be bought?); and Career Choices (what do we expect out of our investment in medical school?).”

Consider this: our education office recently spent $450 on a single pizza lunch for our class for a talk about how the clerkship lottery system works. One of my student organizations received $390 for the entire semester, and with that money, we took blood pressure and blood glucose readings for 120+ individuals in the community, held a talk for medical interpreters, sponsored two students to go to a conference on health disparities, and cooked for Meals-on-Wheels participants at a community center. There’s an imbalance with the way money is allocated, isn’t there? Truly, how do we educate ourselves–is it through lunchtime talks, or through student organizations, research, and community outreach opportunities? But what’s easiest is to give students free lunch…

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