Ford Faces Down Harvard Med Gag Policy

Talk about speaking truth to power….Haverford grad Nate Favini ’05 took on the administration of Harvard Medical School, where he is chair of the Student Council Advisory Board, last week and came out on top. Nate, a former Students’ Council Vice-President at Haverford and biology major here, was the leader among a number of students and Harvard Med faculty who objected to a new policy which would have limited student contact with news media, The New York Times reported last week.
Shortly after Favini and other students spoke out, the policy was retracted and the dean of students promised revisions to avoid controlling student comments to the media in any new policy.
The policy was evidently “prompted by student remarks earlier this year about the influence of pharmaceutical companies on medical education,” said The Times.
Favini, who served two years with the Peace Corps in Mozambique before going to Harvard, wrote: “This is one of many ways that medical education implicitly teaches behaviors that differ significantly from the values that we hope physicians will uphold. Instead of limiting students, we should encourage bold thinking and allow them to advocate for the reforms that our health care system so badly needs.”
Spoken like a true Haverfordian, but Nate had plenty of distinguished company in objecting to the attempt to restrict comment by students to media. Harvey Silverglate, a Cambridge civil rights attorney, said he knew of no other university with such a policy and  Dr. Marcia Angell, Harvard lecturer and former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine, commented that “The policy was extremely ill-advised.”
Nate’s profs and peers at Haverford obviously respected his intellect–he graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa with departmental high honors and the Ariel Loewy Prize in biology, so we’ll await with particular interest the next chapters in  the career of a young Haverfordian who seems destined to have a lot to say–and a lot that others will listen to–in the vital health care debates of the next several years.
We told you earlier this week numerous alums were working for Haverford in some capacity or other, but we missed one in that blog entry. While Dr. Larry Miller ’75, who can take care of orthopedic problems, was cited, we neglected Dr. Andrew Smolar ’83, Consulting Psychiatrist in the Health Services, who provides help and solace for the psyche–and don’t we all need some of that! That brings the current  alum employee total to 32
Greg Kannerstein ’63