Physicians of the future: Renaissance of polymaths?

Bettina F. Piko, William E. Stempsey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

4 Citations (Scopus)


Science and technology are crucial in modern medicine; societies devote enormous amount of time, money and effort to developing new diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. However, the fact that people now report higher rates of disability, symptoms and general dissatisfaction with their health and well-being calls us to rethink the functions of health care and medical education. There is a need for a new medical paradigm, which should involve and reconcile the natural and the social scientific paradigms ('two cultures'). Medicine should be viewed as an integrative, biopsychosocial science. Therefore, medical education must involve the study of the biological structures and psychosocial functioning of human beings not as separate systems, but as interactive ones. This mandate suggests that the physician needs to become a sort of 'neo-polymath' in a 'new Renaissance'. The new paradigm, however, should not demand the acquisition of more and more information. Instead, the crucial principle would focus on the appropriate selection of information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-237
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of The Royal Society for the Promotion of Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2002


  • Biopsychosocial model
  • Medical education
  • Polymath
  • Theory of paradigm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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