At USUHSWell, Daniel Greenberg is at it again -- deceiving...

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April 23, 1994

At USUHS

Well, Daniel Greenberg is at it again -- deceiving the public with misinformation and inflammatory articles that stretch the truth beyond recognition.

Perhaps that is why his Washington newsletter is so popular -- people like to read the kind of trash contained in the gossip

journals, whether true or not.

His "Doctors in Khaki" (Opinion * Commentary, March 23) focuses again on what he knows is an untruth -- that the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences is an expensive medical school.

He states, "There's no doubt that the tab per head at USUHS is by far the highest in medical education," which is a blatant lie. In fact, the USUHS cost per graduate (about $0.5 million) is well below the national average (over $1 million).

USUHS is below the 30th percentile for its budget, but above the 70th percentile for number of graduates -- clearly not a cost "the highest in medical education," but rather much below the average.

The figure he uses for cost per graduate at civilian medical schools is $110,000, which is not the cost of medical education at all, but rather the cost the Department of Defense has to pay to provide a scholarship for a four-year commitment from a potential graduate.

The remaining cost of that student's education (over $0.9 million) is paid by federal, state and private subsidies. The total cost is about double that of sending the student to USUHS and getting at least an eight-year commitment of service as a military physician.

My biggest concern is that the military seems to be abandoning the academic base of military medicine, which is so vital to maintaining disease prevention and quality medical care.

There are large cuts in graduate medical education (specialty training), in military medical research, and in the academic centers (e.g., USUHS).

One needn't study the history of medical progress in America for very long to see that many of the great advances have come through military medical research, particularly in tropical medicine, infectious diseases, vaccines, environmental extremes, physical training and nutrition. To abandon this is to take a large step backward.

My other concern in the current controversy about USUHS is the potential abandonment of an academic environment that produces large numbers of career military and Public Health Service physicians who are willing to dedicate their careers to public service.

This is what USUHS is all about. It takes over a million dollars to train a fighter pilot -- why not spend half that to get a physician who is dedicated to public service rather than to his own pocketbook?

John W. Gardner, M.D.

Rockville

Uncomfortable

I find it interesting in Ed Brandt's April 17 article on multicultural education that Dr. Geneva Gay says that children of "color" continue to fail "because they haven't been taught to be comfortable in school."

As a person of color, I can tell you I never felt comfortable in school, never knowing when the next sister or brother was going to whack me for not being prepared.

It also seems to me that another group of people of color, the Asians, seem to do well in school.

A quote from Nancy S. Grasmick, state superintendent of schools, was a real eye-opener in the article.

She said, "Too many reach college and don't know how to live in a diverse society." I find too many reach college that have been short-changed by their high school and not prepared to do college level work.

I= Let's drop multicultural and replace it with mathematics.

A. Bacigalupa

Baltimore

Suburban Blight

I agree fully with the premise of Tim Baker's April 11 column that the growth of suburbs trashes out the city. The growth of suburbs trashes out the country as well.

Frederick, Harford, Carroll and northern Baltimore counties illustrate this dilemma. They contain some of the richest soil on the planet. But Frederick County, a prime dairy farming area in the state, has lost over half of its dairy farms to development since 1971.

These cookie-cutter suburbs have a reverse King Midas touch: When all of the amenities of suburbia coalesce, they become undesirable, and the search ensues for increasingly remote rural landscapes to slash and burn similarly.

Mr. Baker's solution of "effective regionalism" is not likely to resolve this dilemma. Local politicians with an eye to political contributors and their tax base encourage "rows of two-acre lots . . mock Tudor mansions and French chateaus."

This is normally what is meant any time a candidate for office espouses the importance of "economic growth."

My solution would be to build no more roads. Suburbs wouldn't exist without ever-expanding webs of macadam and universal car ownership. Beltways, interstates, bypasses, etc., benefit the suburban affluent and land developers.

Columbia (where Tim Baker writes from) was supposed to be a model city and user friendly to pedestrians. When Columbia became passe, the landed gentry moved down the interstate to Clarksville. Woodbine and Lisbon are next.

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