A reflection from the High Holidays

Like some of you, I sat in synagogue on Monday and listened.  The message spoken by Rabbi Dan Levin (Boca Raton, FL) struck me on many levels, but the words were so germane to the mission of Cur&#275us that I felt the need to share my interpretation of this message as it relates to medical publishing, and as it relates to all of us.

The essence of his message was that to change the world we need to be willing to listen. If we are truly listening then we can engage in dialog. We can debate.  We can disagree and collectively seek truth.

It is time for a change…to evolve from the anachronistic traditions of bias and prejudice and political strongholds reigning over our scientific ideas. But how does one “be brave” and courageous in the face of such inertia (e.g., traditional peer review, a “perceived” need to chase the ubiquitous Impact Factor, etc.)?

At Cur&#275us, we just introduced the opportunity to share medical posters with the world…one component potentially leading to the future of open and cross-disciplinary medical discourse. Students and residents are our new generation of publishers, of academics, of clinicians, of innovators, and they will blaze a path to new medical knowledge and truths.

Every beginning starts with a first step….and this is our first step.  (Fellows, Professors and other authors submit your old posters, too). Submit those opinion pieces that are full of information, but there is just not enough time in the day to make the papers fit the specifications and “criteria” under the purview of a particular journal.

  • Give the new generation examples…share your ideas from the past and present
  • Submit, submit, submit, and let the world engage, dialog – learn.

Only through free flow of information, debate and discussion may we “pivot” and change and evolve. There is nothing wrong with theoretical opposition and heated discourse. Real debate and dialogue (i.e., “fierce conversation,” a phrase coined by author Susan Scott) interrogates reality, and in the process creates openness and honesty, rendering us available to consider truths and allowing us the opportunity to question our answers. Providing a “safe space” allows us not only to “talk” about what we know but also, and perhaps most importantly, to listen to (thereby acknowledging) that which we do not know.

Rabbi Levin reminded us of the words of the Greek philosopher, Epictetus (AD 55- c. 135): “We have 2 ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak”

Cur&#275us creates this “safe space” … a platform for honest and open discourse in all of medicine.  It is time for a change, and to change, we must act. We must publish!  We cannot be hindered by traditions, indolence and fear.  To act is to start somewhere, and to embrace the newness of a challenge, a willingness to accommodate something different, an acceptance of the journey we are on now, and who we might become, refusing to limit ourselves by the stories of our past and “who we have been.”

To understand “truths,” we need to listen with open curiosity and with integrity, rather than to speak with criticism and preconceived prejudices based on familiar, albeit limited knowledge.

Together we begin this journey with Cur&#275us, let us listen and be willing to hear.  Let us be curious.