Want to know what the blogging/op-ed equivalent of NEVER EVENT looks like…

By  |  April 15, 2011 | 

I planned on posting up this weekend, but alas, I offer up this short citation—and for good reason.  I rarely comment  on a lede for shock value.  However, this is a noteworthy reference, and a cautionary tale for SHM, and every professional society for that matter.

I found this story very disturbing.  Take a look, and then come back.


My take: Stupid, stupid, stupid!

It is so blatantly obvious, no matter how Dr. Greenfield interpreted the evidence–wrongly as it were, that this kind of writing is insulting and inappropriate, especially for a man of his stature.  I am sure he is beyond reproach in his academic accomplishments, but regarding late career mistakes, he is not the first, and wont be the last.  Where is this man’s filter and common sense?  More importantly, where were the editors?

I cite this post to illustrate that all of us at SHM: bloggers, board members, committee members, etc., all represent the organization to a greater or lesser degree.  Slip ups, even of the n=1 variety, can tarnish an organization and regress years of progress in the clinical and advocacy domains.

Even with a full throated apology and resignation, this action will linger, and degrades the influence of an organization, that yes, likes to voice its opinions and have a say in the reshaping of health care practice.  Moreover, dissent amongst its members will create havoc for some time and make organizational decision making difficult.  Not good in this era of change.  There are more efficient ways to clean house to be sure.

Again, a wake up call and a lesson.  Remember it.

UPDATE: Dr. Greenfield submits resignation.



  1. Rachel Lovins April 19, 2011 at 11:03 pm - Reply

    I think there is something good in this Brad. I was thinking about it at the Passover seder last night. Passover is a great time to think about injustice and look for the hidden shadows of racism/sexism that hide in all of us. By writing something so outrageous Greenfield forces all of us to realize this kind of thinking still exists, and to look for traces of it inside of ourselves. I don’t think it’s all bad. If he totally got away with it it would be a different story.

  2. Bill Rifkin April 23, 2011 at 11:45 pm - Reply

    I agree that a key issue is the mystery of the editors. You also see this is some research articles that get published. Too many journals. Greenfield’s comments were not just stupid, but bizzare. Was he really suggesting that the “research” he cited meant anything? If he was joking, it’s even worse. Seems that he was one of the good ones in terms of helping women in their surgical careers, but seems one cannot take the boy out of the boys’ club.

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About the Author: Brad Flansbaum

Brad Flansbaum
Bradley Flansbaum, DO, MPH, MHM works for Geisinger Health System in Danville, PA in both the divisions of hospital medicine and population health. He began working as a hospitalist in 1996, at the inception of the hospital medicine movement. He is a founding member of the Society of Hospital Medicine and served as a board member and officer. He speaks nationally in promoting hospital medicine and has presented at many statewide meetings and conferences. He is also actively involved in house staff education. Currently, he serves on the SHM Public Policy Committee and has an interest in payment policy, healthcare market competition, health disparities, cost-effectiveness analysis, and pain and palliative care. He is SHM’s delegate for the AMA House of Delegates. Dr. Flansbaum received his undergraduate degree from Union College in Schenectady, NY and attended medical school at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York. He received his M.P.H. in Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is a political junky, and loves to cook, stay fit, read non-fiction, listen to many genres of music, and is a resident of Danville, PA.


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