Monday, May 22, 2017

The Flexner Report Of 1910 And Maldevelopment In The Structure Of Medical Education In America

(This is Part 4 in a Four Part Series on the corruption that lead to Cannabis and Hemp Prohibition)

The Flexner Report is a book-length study of medical education in the United States and Canada, written by Abraham Flexner and published in 1910 under the aegis of the Carnegie Foundation. Many aspects of the present-day American medical profession stem from the Flexner Report and its aftermath. The Flexner Report has been said to be the most important event in the history of American and Canadian medical education. It was a commentary on the condition of medical education in the early 1900s and gave rise to modern medical education. The report is named for Abraham Flexner (1866-1959) who prepared it.

Abraham Flexner, a former school teacher and expert on educational practices whose background and training made him an outlier of the 4 commissioned members working on the report. Abraham majored in Greek and Latin and philosophy at John Hopkins University, completing his college studies in only two years. He was able to attend Johns Hopkins University through a gift and beneficence by the Rockefeller Institute, where his brother Simon worked.

The other members of the Flexner Commission, often called the ‘Hopkins Circle’, consisted of a Connecticut Yankee and Yale graduate, William Welch. Welch was the founding dean at John Hopkins University, a school established from the fortune of a Quaker merchant, Johns Hopkins. Welch was in large part the mastermind creator of Hopkins and its extensive reach and influence in medical education; he was responsible for the selection of William Osler, the Canadian son of a frontier minister, as its first chief of medicine. A third member of the group was Frederick Gates, a Baptist minister and trusted adviser to John D. Rockefeller. He was galvanized to help improve the scientific and therapeutic store of medical knowledge that he had recognized as being seriously impoverished following his reading of Osler’s Textbook of Medicine.
The American Medical Association was founded in 1847 and incorporated in 1897. In the early 1900s the AMA realized that there needed to be some changes in medical education. Medical practice and education in some areas left a lot to be desired (poor training and understaffed medical schools). It created the Council on Medical Education, with the purpose of evaluating countrywide medical training and making improvements where needed. However, they didn’t have enough money to do this. Enter Rockefeller and Carnegie and their funding and popularity. The president of the Carnegie Foundation, Henry Pritchett, met with the AMA and offered to take over the entire Council on Medical Education project.

In 1901 the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research was founded. One of the names on the board of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research was Simon Flexner. It was Simon Flexner’s brother, Abraham Flexner, who had one of the biggest hands in medical education reform. (Interestingly, Abraham Flexner was born in Kentucky, one of the largest growers and suppliers of hemp during WWII.) Abraham Flexner was also part of the staff at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

“As mentioned previously, the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations traditionally worked together almost as one in the furtherance of their mutual goals, and this certainly was no exception. The Flexner brothers represented the lens that brought both the Rockefeller and the Carnegie fortunes into sharp focus on the unsuspecting and thoroughly vulnerable medical profession.” (He Who Pays The Piper – Creation of the Modern Medical Establishment; G. Edward Griffin)
Abraham Flexner

Flexner prepared for his task by immersing himself in the literature of medical education, and he specifically identified Theodore Billroth’s book Medical Education in the German Universities as his major primer. Throughout his life, he was an ardent proponent of the German pedagogic style of medical education. He was resolute in his belief that medicine was a scientific discipline that could be best realized by using the German model as the prototype in America.

John D. Rockefeller wanted to gain control of education, including the medical education systems. He did that with the help of Fred Gates. Fred Gates was a Baptist pastor, who left that post to become secretary of the American Baptist Education Society. Rockefeller was a devout Baptist himself, so the two were destined to meet. Rockefeller donated $600,000 to the Baptist-based Chicago University, under the suggestion of Fred Gates. (Now known as the University of Chicago Medical Center.)

In the late 1800s and early 1900s there were many schools that taught Eclectic medicine (botanical and herbal medicine), Holistic medicine, and Naturopathy. These schools were not in line with the pharmaceutical drug-pushing agenda of the Rockefellers and Carnegies. Holistic health, botanicals and herbs, and nutritional therapy were not part of the agenda of the Rockefellers and Carnegies. Remember, also, that this was the time when the Rockefellers had the monopoly on pharmaceuticals and when Hemp was a huge threat to their budding pharma and oil investments.

Flexner elevated the importance of medical research to a status of near infallibility as he helped import and institute German educational methods in the teaching of medicine.
This brought many needed improvements to medical students’ practical field experience through hands-on learning, but it also built in a strong bias in favor of empirical science (i.e. pharmaceutical drugs) to the exclusion of whole-patient care or any of the more natural treatment options.
Flexner helped pave the way for a medical monopoly that persists to this day. Modern medicine has become such a systemic force that none of this should come as a surprise that a man no one has really heard of or was not a doctor was able to do this.  Of course, drugs are patented. Of course, they’re expensive and controlled by a select group of companies and government agencies. Of course, we can’t use plants as medicine. That’s quackery!
Credit: NatureNews
“Rockefeller’s goal was to dominate the oil, chemical, and pharmaceutical markets, so his company [Standard Oil of New Jersey] purchased a controlling interest in a huge German drug/chemical company called I.G. Farben,” Ty Bollinger of said.
Hans Ruesch, a Swiss racing driver, a novelist, and an internationally prominent activist, also drew the connection between this and the need for an educational component, “So the stage was set for the ‘education' of the American public, with a view to turning it into a population of drug and medico dependents, with the early help of the parents and the schools, then with direct advertising and, last but not least, the influence the advertising revenues had on the media-makers.
Dr. Thomas P. Duffy in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine offered this analysis of Flexner’s approach:
“There was maldevelopment in the structure of medical education in America in the aftermath of the Flexner Report. The profession’s infatuation with the hyper-rational world of German medicine created an excellence in science that was not balanced by a comparable excellence in clinical caring. Flexner’s corpus was all nerves without the life blood of caring. Osler’s warning that the ideals of medicine would change as ‘teacher and student chased each other down the fascinating road of research, forgetful of those wider interests to which a hospital must minister' has proven prescient and wise.”
Health journalist S.D. Wells notes in the eBook 25 Amazing (and Disturbing) Facts About the Hidden History of Medicine, “Five score and two years ago, a man named Abraham Flexner was hired by John D. Rockefeller to evaluate the effectiveness of therapies being taught by medical colleges and institutions, with the ultimate goal of dominating control over pharmaceuticals.
“With partnerships including Andrew Carnegie and JP Morgan, a new “doorkeeper” would exist to influence legislative bodies on state and federal levels to create regulations and licensing “red tape” that strictly promoted drug medicine while stifling and shutting down alternative, inexpensive natural remedies. Those medical colleges and institutions that did not submit to this superpower of regulation were crushed and put out of business.
“The Flexner report was conveniently titled Medical Education in the United States and Canada and the 22 page control ‘mechanism' was more or less a teamsters union, and medical schools in the U.S. were cut in half by the Flexner Report in less than 15 years, from 160 to 80, and then down below 70 by World War II. This concentrated control is the direct cause of the majority of problems with health care today.”

How did we let this happen?

Keep in mind there were no real effective governmental agencies in place monitoring the state of affairs within the medical community, so what Flexner did at the behest of the robber barons, he did so in favor of profits rather than the long-term care of patients. He effectively created a culture that enabled the monetization of medicine like never before. This might not have been his intent, but the outcome speaks for itself.
Flexner threw out the baby with the snake oil. And while some good came out of the Flexner Report, what really came out was a new as-of-yet untapped way to turn a profit through medical science without the competition of medical professionals outside the fold. In short, the Flexner Report enabled a monopoly on healthcare.
Medical professionals who leaned heavily toward natural healing posed the greatest threat to this standardization because they continued to demonstrate that nature has provided what’s necessary to treat or prevent just about any illness.
After all, you can’t patent a plant or an essential oil, but you can patent a lab-created molecule that strongly resembles that of the plants. If profits are what you’re after and it all seems rather harmless, why not make some money while you’re making people well.
With hundreds of different healing modalities out there, why would we want to narrow it down to one system, if we were truly interested in health? Rockefeller had made a massive fortune with Standard Oil and was setting his sights on gaining a monopoly in the drug and pharmaceutical industry. However, first he had to get rid of the competition, which consisted of natural non-allopathic healing modalities – naturopathy, homeopathy, eclectic medicine (botanical and herbal medicine), holistic medicine, etc. Hemp was also a threat to his plans, since cannabis has tremendous medical benefit – it can be used to alleviate pain for numerous diseases and even has anti-cancer properties. How did Rockefeller deal with this? By means of the Flexner Report.
After the Flexner Report, the AMA only endorsed schools with a drug-based curriculum. It didn’t take long before non-allopathic schools fell by the wayside due to lack of funding. Thus, Rockefeller had his monopoly on drugs, and Big Pharma and Rockefeller Medicine were born.
One of the recommendations of the Flexner Report was that those who are giving money to medical school and funding sources for them to stop sponsoring the herbal schools in medicine, because they didn’t have “proper laboratories or texts”. Despite that part of the purpose of the Flexner Report was to create that for all medical schools.
Three years after publishing the Flexner Report of 1910 , Abraham Flexner went to work at the Rockefeller Institute, implementing his recommendations over the next two decades. Flexner’s biased report lead to the decline in alternative medicine and herbology. Four years after the report was published we started to see the first laws against cannabis passed in US border towns with Mexico, like the El Paseo ordinance of 1914.
Cannabis was made illegal in 1937, soon after alcohol prohibition was repealed. The current U.S. Secretary of the Treasury at that time was Andrew Mellon, who happened to own Mellon Bank (and was one of the backers for DuPont as mentioned in Part One). Mellon’s niece was married to Harry Anslinger who, incidentally, was connected to the alcohol prohibition campaign. He was out of a job (as were everyone else in that sector of the federal government) after the alcohol prohibition ended. To keep his family employed, Mellon created a new division of the federal government, the Bureau of Narcotics (this is now the Drug Enforcement Agency -DEA), and made Harry Anslinger the new head of that program.
“The Flexner model remains in place, the foundation of the magnificent edifice that is American medicine.” - Thomas P. Duffy, MD, Yale School of Medicine
As a medical cannabis patient, medical cannabis advocate and writer - I do wonder how many Doctors and students in medical schools actually know the history of the medical school education system?
Julie Holland, MD discusses The Pot Book

Hippocratic Oath
I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.

I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.