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Mar 03 2014

Otis Brawley Lecture on March 5 to Highlight U.S. Medical System Problems

Old Westbury, N.Y.  (March 3, 2014)  — Americans are living in a “medical Disneyland” where costs are excessive, expectations are unreasonable, and science is often ignored, says Otis W. Brawley, M.D, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President of the American Cancer Society.
Brawley will lecture at Riland Auditorium at 4 pm on Wednesday, March 5 as part of the Provocative Perspectives on Health series sponsored by the College of Osteopathic Medicine and School of Health Professions. RSVPs are required. 
Brawley plans to outline some of the problems with the current medical system that he believes could bankrupt the country by 2030.
“We are irrationally practicing medicine,” says Brawley.  “We keep worrying about rationing. We should be worrying about (being) rational.”
Vice President for Health Sciences and Medical Affairs Barbara Ross-Lee, DO, said viewpoints by Brawley and others who challenge established opinions often offer a path to solutions for difficult problems. The Provocative Perspectives on Health series aims to bring such views to light.
"Some people push the envelope because they bring a unique perspective to issues and challenges," Ross-Lee said. "Their positions are often deemed provocative because they allow us to experience the issues in a way that is new and different from our own. This is how problems are solved and progress is made."
Brawley says the United States spends more than $8,000 per capita on health care each year, while the second-highest spending in Switzerland totals about $4,000 per capita. 
“And their outcomes are better,” he says. “Basically, our medical system is fraught with real problems. It’s almost corrupt – it’s corrupt in the sense that we have these problems that all of us have just accepted.”
Among the examples Brawley is likely to cite are certain cancer screenings that may heighten patient expectations of healthy outcomes – even when studies have not been done to support those views. 
“Everybody’s bought the da Vinci robot,” he said, citing another example and referring to the high-priced robotic surgical system used in hundreds of thousands of procedures each year. “Truth be told, a lot of doctors don’t understand how to operate with the da Vinci robot. And now we’re educating surgeons who don’t know how to do (surgery) any other way.”
NYIT awarded Brawley an honorary degree last May and he was the keynote speaker at the medical school’s 2013 hooding ceremony. He is author of How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America and is working on a new book about race, medicine, and outcomes. NYIT will distribute complimentary copies of his book at the lecture as supplies last.
Brawley is also on the faculty of Emory University School of Medicine and Rollins School of Public Health.
“I actually have a great more deal hope for their generation than my own,” Brawley said. “People are going to medical school now much more for the right reasons than they were thirty years ago.”
He also said he believed that today’s medical and health professions students are learning more about the importance of science and the scientific method, which will aid them in their practices and interactions with patients.
“The professionals need to be professional,” he says. “We need to be scientific and appreciate science.
We tend not to appreciate science in the United States.”
About NYIT
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 13,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.
Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, more than 95,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit
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