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Rebecca Loman, Physician

Rebecca Loman
Rebecca Loman

After matriculating with a BA in History from UCSB, Rebecca Loman attended medical school at UC Davis. She is now in Family Practice. As she writes below, she is utterly convinced that her degree in History makes her a better physician:

“Leafing through this month’s edition of the academic, peer-reviewed journal American Family Physician, anyone can imagine how important my experience as a history major is to my professional development as a family physician. An article on new, exorbitantly priced medications for hepatitis C touches on medical ethics, social arrangements, and technologies that affect different socioeconomic groups. An article on whether home visits for pregnant adolescents could improve prenatal clinic visit show rates hints at the varied cultural beliefs of patients and the historical treatment of young women as mothers. There are thousands of other examples. The science of medicine can be taught easily (i.e. the stomach connects to the duodenum). The art of medicine can be learned through experience (i.e. sit down to give a patient bad news). But the history of medicine and the way medicine and healthcare connect to large social, political, and economic issues is not something that is stressed during medical school or postgraduate medical education, to the detriment of my colleagues who received bachelor’s degrees in pre-med. I am grateful every single day for my bachelor’s in History. When I talk to my elderly East Asian patients about their PTSD, I am thankful for Dr. Paul Spickard’s classes on immigration. When an African-American female patient expresses hesitancy about undergoing sterilization after delivery, I am grateful for Dr. Jane DeHart’s reading lists on the abuse of minority women by the medical community. When writing grant proposals for research projects, I am picturing what my thesis advisor, Dr. Jack Talbott, would write in the margins. One of the most crucial elements of being a physician is being able to “take a history” of the patient in front of you. Who could possibly be in a better position to do that than an inquisitive UCSB history major?”

For further information…

on the statistical advantages that History and Humanities majors experience in gaining acceptance to medical school, see: