Shouldn't mess with med schools in the cityIn his July 7...


July 16, 1996

Shouldn't mess with med schools in the city

In his July 7 letter "We're paying to train too many physicians," Ernest B. Crofoot, chairman of the AFL-CIO Health Care Cost Containment Committee, revealed state taxpayers are giving millions of dollars a year to Johns Hopkins University and University of Maryland medical schools through state grants and added rates at these two teaching hospitals.

He also said these medical schools are training too many specialists. Even more terrible, many of these students are from other states and countries who, when they graduate, leave Maryland to practice elsewhere.

I assume that Mr. Crofoot expects me to be outraged at this. Well, I am outraged but not at the small percentage of subsidies given to two outstanding medical institutions that we are fortunate to have in our own back yard. I am outraged at Mr. Crofoot and many other corporate executives, HMO presidents and others who are trying to convince the public that we can have excellent medical care without those expensive teaching hospitals.

What Mr. Crofoot's letter has revealed is that Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland medical schools have done their job too well. These schools attract the best and the brightest students from all over the country and the world. They are training physicians for the 21st century and beyond. I can not think of a better use of my taxpayer dollars.

One think I am sure of in regard to medical care: If you want more Benjamin Carsons, don't ever think that the next group of pediatric neurosurgeons or world class specialists are going to get the training they need at those drive-through surgical centers next door to your local mall.

Sherlynn Matesky

Owings Mills

The planet needs fewer of us

As someone who believes not just in zero population growth but in negative population growth -- achieved voluntarily, rather than by plague, war and famine -- I was heartsick to read Michael D. Nauton's paean to reckless breeding (July 2, "A migratory animal, ever seeking to move on").

It is not the hopelessly crowded portions of this planet which have fostered scientific progress. Humans are able to make technological advances because we can communicate to each other and to our children what the brightest human minds have already figured out. We will not achieve "more brain power" by simply multiplying our numbers if we cannot also educate potential innovators and researchers. Any Newton, Einstein or Hawking born where merely feeding the population demands all the resources a country can muster will not thrive.

What Mr. Nauton has not grasped is that there is nowhere to flee. Probes have shown that not a single planet in the rest of the solar system has conditions we could tolerate. By comparison, even Antarctica seems mild.

It is ironic that Mr. Nauton's blithe essay was published on July 2, the day that the film "Independence Day" opened in theaters across the country. We have all seen the grim image of the alien ship eclipsing New York. If we found a planet hospitable to our form of life, we ourselves would have to treat its denizens just as ruthlessly. We would need the space.

We do not have to stagnate on this planet. But we will indeed feel trapped here if we do not control our birthrates. Ann Feild's illustration shows a sunny view of human aspirations. I notice that she had the wisdom to depict only one child per parent, rather than four or six or eight.

Mr. Nauton sounds like someone who needs elbow room himself. As he says, we have "primitive mechanisms . . . urging us to get away from each other." But where will we run? Where will any of us run, if we ruin this beautiful home?

Priscilla Tweed


Sun magazine's artists commended

For many years the Sun magazine had been the newspaper's showpiece. It contained great stories and beautiful photographs. its last issue, the contributions of both writers and photographers were rightly acknowledged.

I regret that another of its outstanding qualities, its visual appeal, which gradually vanished, was not mentioned. Yet the Sun magazine's success owed a great deal to a number of very good artists who labored over its design, layout and illustrations.

I had the privilege of working in close cooperation with individuals who deserve recognition for their dedication under, at times, less-than-ideal supervisory conditions. The late John Stubel for many years artfully displayed A. Aubrey Bodine's photographs, as well as those of Hans Marx, Richard Stacks and Robert Kniesche during most of the years when the magazine was known as the ''brown section.''

There were also a number of times when the editor would approach another artist I greatly admired, Joseph Corcoran, and would say: ''Joe, there is no way we can get pictures to illustrate this story. How about doing an illustration?'' And Joe would always meet the challenge, often under time constraints. Joe left this world much too young, a victim of multiple myeloma.

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