Advertisement

Should We Eliminate Mental Health Questions on Applications for Medical Licensure?

  • Christopher LaRocca
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author: Christopher LaRocca, MD FAAFP, Director of Graduate Medical Education and Family Medicine Residency Development, Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Clinical Associate Professor of Community and Family Medicine, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, phone 603-354-5454, ext. 8487
    Affiliations
    Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Cheshire Medical Center, Keene, NH
    Search for articles by this author
      To the Editor:
      Lawson, in “Eliminate Mental Health Questions on Applications for Medical Licensure,”
      • Lawson N.
      Eliminate Mental Health Questions on Applications for Medical Licensure.
      points out a difficulty in using the term “affect” in questions regarding an applicant's ability to practice medicine in a competent, ethical and professional manner due to a mental health disorder. He notes that the illness may “simply make an already exceptional physician just a little less exceptional.” This clearly makes sense, but I would suggest that we consider the opposite, as well. It might be that a physician's personal experience of an illness or condition (mental or otherwise) could actually improve the care of patients, by increasing the empathy the physician brings to the patient interaction. Those physicians who really know suffering may, in fact, be “a little more exceptional.”

      Reference

        • Lawson N.
        Eliminate Mental Health Questions on Applications for Medical Licensure.
        Am J Med. 2020; 133: 1118-1119