Wait a sec … there are more women applying to college than men, and more women in college than men, so we have to attract more men and women have tougher admissions standards, and nobody seems very worried about this?

I think sometimes anonymity is a damned good idea, especially when you are selecting for intelligence, which is not a terribly bad idea in higher education.

When I was in medical school in France, everyone was assigned a “code number” for anonymity, and there was a ceremony for the “raising of anonymity” when the French medical school at Amiens (now known as “Jules Verne University”) found out that #38 out of 650 students in the “elimination examination,” (as there were only 110 places for clinical students in the hospital) was myself, and they were lovely about all of this even though they were stuck with me for all of seven years.

On the first day of my second year of medical school, a very French chauvinist physiology professor told me, sitting in the front row, that I ought to have been ashamed for taking a medical school space away from a Frenchman who needed to have a career to raise a family.

I responded respectfully that my right to a French medical school education had been established by the Napoleonic Code, and was assured by the fact I spoke French. Then I said “Vive la France,” which is always a very good thing to say in France, and even got applause.

I did not say anything about being American or female. He left the space in front of my desk shaking his head, as there was nothing left for him to say.

Let’s look at the bigger picture; admission for not only medical school but also higher education, in the United States and the world.

I am sitting in the middle of California, the anti-intellectual capital of the world, which seems to be a place where education is valued little compared to how one appears in a bikini.

Although it is a tough pill to swallow, the more women “infiltrate” a position or social system, the less it is perceived as prestigious.

I remember seeing a busload of British female physicians visiting the amiens medical center, and one of them telling me she could not afford to live independently of her parents in the London area where they were situated.

In the U.S.A., women doctors make less.

There are several articles on line about what is called the “leaky pipeline.” Women are more plentiful than ever in the profession and actually starting to dominate some specialties (obstetrics-gynecology, pediatrics) but the academic medicine honors and breakthroughs are still elusive.

My personal thought here is that the “honors and breakthroughs” are more hype than reality; I am an old escapee from that system.

Now, the bigger picture. Young men have been telling me for a long time that they can make a lot of money by the strength of their bodies, so that there is no reason for them to go to college.

I generally tell young folks that their best chance of getting a job when they are as old as me, a job where you get to sit down, is to get some degrees from colleges. Some of the men laugh; less of the women do.

I sometimes even quote my grandmother of blessed memory who told me that one of the great advantages of learning things is that you do not have to carry them on your back.

It seems that colleges have now moved to wooing men, with lower admission standards for them, and making it more competitive for women. This is dead wrong, of course; we should simply have the best people learning to do things.

The United States has become a wildly litigious country, so we are looking for some kind of determination by the judiciary.

What is missing is common sense. Once (for the first and last time) I was a patient in an outpatient university clinic. The professor who ran it told me I could have “any kind of doctor” follow me; female, preferred ethnicity, whatever. I asked him for the smartest he had, highest grades in clinical work, and a good listener. He assigned me a female who like me had skin “white as an aspirin tablet” and seemed to be maybe of some origin similar to my eastern European Jewish one. His criteria, not mine and certainly not objective.

Whether you believe America should be working on past glory and/or alleged intellectual world supremacy, we need to work on choosing the best among us for the chances to be the best among us.

Author's Bio: 

Estelle Toby Goldstein, MD is a board-certified psychiatrist in private practice in San Diego, CA.

Practicing Medicine Since 1981

In her medical career, she has studied in Europe and Canada as well as the USA. She has attended specialty training beyond medical school in the fields of general surgery, neurology and neurosurgery and psychiatry (specializing in psychopharmacology).

Experienced In Many Situations

She has worked in a variety of positions, including:
◾Fireman/EMT
◾Medical school professor
◾General and Orthopedic surgeon
◾Brain surgeon
◾Army Medical Corps psychiatrist
◾Prison psychiatrist
◾Community Mental Health Center staff
◾Consultant to a major transplant hospital
◾Drug researcher

“Whatever It Takes!”

She currently has her own indepenent clinic in San Diego where she is concentrating on what she calls Mind/Body medicine — or Integrative Medicine. Her practice is cash-only, doesn’t accept insurance or government payments, and she operates on the concierge, or “private doctor” practice model to give her patients the absolute best quality of care and the highest level of confidentiality.

Dr. Goldstein’s philosophy is “Whatever It Takes!” Her goal is to do everything possible to solve whatever problem she is presented. This includes seeing patients as quickly as possible — not making them wait weeks for an appointment. This includes making appointments days, nights, weekends or holidays. This includes making house-calls. And it includes using the best, most innovative treatments available — most of which are unknown to standard, mainstream doctors.

Her focus is on transitioning patients away from prescription drugs and onto natural substances. She is also a master practitioner of Emotional Freedom Technique, a powerful and dynamic form of energy psychology that usually brings quicker results than traditional psychotherapy.