In Rochester history
Romano and Engel transformed medicine in Rochester and the United States
Through almost four decades, two physicians—John Romano and George Engel—practiced medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center and taught generations of aspiring physicians.
The two physicians significantly influenced psychosomatic medicine, the place of psychiatry in medicine and medical education, bringing to the University’s School of Medicine and Dentistry and the Medical Center international attention and fame.
John Romano, M.D., was the founding chairman of the Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry. He developed post-doctoral psychiatric training for physicians and community mental health services. He oversaw the creation of the Medical Center’s “R Wing,” one of the first psychiatric centers built as an integral part of a university hospital.
Dr. Romano, who served as chair from 1946 until 1971, often held Saturday morning meetings with medical students to discuss contemporary social and cultural topics and shape their concepts of psychiatry. He was recognized worldwide as a reformer of medical education.
“Along with a handful of others of his generation, he was responsible for shaping modern psychiatry in America,” Sharon R. Kaufman, author of A Healer's Tale: Transforming Medicine and Culture, told The New York Times when Dr. Romano died.
George L. Engel, M.D., came to Rochester with Dr. Romano and became very involved in incorporating psychiatric training in the School of Medicine and Dentistry curriculum. Before an assembled class or with students at a bedside, he interviewed patients, revealing the emotional components of illness.
He became one of the leading figures in psychosomatic studies. He was prominent in the American Psychosomatic Society, edited its journal, Psychosomatic Medicine, and published several books and many articles on the relation of emotion and disease and on the incorporation of these ideas into medical training and clinical practice.
Dr. Engel published his seminal paper on the “biopsychosocial model” in the journal Science in 1977, stating the case for the interaction of biological, psychological, behavioral and social forces in maintaining health and influencing the onset and course of illness. He also emphasized the influence of the physician as a patient remain well or heal. This “biopsychosocial model” of medical practice became a hallmark of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and strongly influenced medical education in the United States.
John Romano and George Engel: Their Lives and Work, a biography of the two physicians, has been published by Meliora Press, an imprint of the University of Rochester Press.
The authors of the new biography are Jules Cohen, M.D. (BA ’53, M ’57), professor of medicine and medical humanities at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and Stephanie Brown Clark, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Medical Humanities Programs at the Medical Center.
The book was published by Meliora Press, an imprint of the University of Rochester Press. To order, write Jules Cohen, M.D., 601 Elmwood Avenue, Box 601, Rochester, NY 14642, and include complete mailing information and a check made out to the University of Rochester for $50 for each book. Shipping is included in the price.
Simulation and Medical Education
Linda Spillane, M.D., assistant dean for medical simulation at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, discusses the value of simulation in medical education and its future at the School of Medicine and Dentistry.
School of Medicine and Dentistry students who want to improve their language skills and expand their knowledge of Latino culture to develop the skills necessary to work with Spanish-speaking patients can choose a unique certification program, the Latino Health Pathway, which includes electives, community outreach activities and research projects.
An alumnus and his camera with soldiers in Afghanistan
Barry M. Goldstein, M.D., Ph. D., (M ’81, PhD ’82), has become a student of soldiers under pressure, recording what he sees with his camera. See his most recent collection of photos called Battle Mind, from a stay in Afganistan with a reserve unit that oversees mental health caare for soldiers on deployment.