Inspiring physicians and teachers: Sir William Osler and Isidore Snapper: FPM Online Conference Series. 24 October 2022

Date: Monday 24th October 2022. 4pm – 5pm UK time

Title: Inspiring physicians and teachers: Sir William Osler and Isidore Snapper

Click on this link to register for this free webinar on EventBrite



4:00pm UK time
Sir William Osler: Medical leader and inspirational teacher
Professor Donald Singer, President, Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine, London, UK

4:20pm UK time
Professor Isidore Snapper: Champion of Bedside Medicine
Dr Arie Berghout, former Consultant Physician and Director of Teaching and Medical Education at Maasstad Hospital, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Professor Allister Vale, Birmingham, UK
Dr Jan Willem Elte, Gouda, The Netherlands

4:40pm UK time
Q & A for panel and audience

Close 5:00 pm UK time

This session is organised by the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine, for which the official journals are the Postgraduate Medical Journal and Health Policy and Technology.

The FPM provide updates for clinical trainees, senior clinicians, policy makers, academics and other health professionals on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of common and serious clinical disorders – both for communicable and non-communicable diseases.

This session is of interest to a wide range of professionals interested in health, including clinical trainees, senior clinicians, policy makers, academics and other health professionals. The session is also open to interested members of the public.

Professor Sir William Osler: Medical leader and inspirational teacher
Osler is widely known as a key figure in the history of modern medicine. He encouraged lifelong learning for doctors, starting with bedside teaching and supported by a scientific approach to the practice of medicine to underpin avoiding unnecessary prescribing of treatment. He was against “random polypharmacy” and did much to reduce the amount of “unnecessary drugging” by prescribers1,2.

 He is credited with playing a key role in improving both the education of medical students and the postgraduate education of doctors, with, in parallel, important benefits for the organization of the care of hospital patients. Contemporary with Old World figures such as Pasteur in Paris and Virchow in Berlin, he played a major role in raising awareness amongst clinicians of the importance of the scientific basis for the practice of medicine. He also had a major influence on his medical colleagues as a leader through founding, re-organising and leading medical societies

A century on from his death in December 1919, his specific contributions and how he achieved them are not well known. His name for most now studying or practising medicine large lives on merely as an eponym for a select range of clinical signs and diseases. The aim of this session is to consider the evidence that Osler was an influential medical leader and to reflect on the extent to which the achievements which resulted from his leadership are relevant to modern clinical medicine and to principles of leadership in general. Questions of interest include his leadership style, what made for his success as a leader, his medical achievements both in North America and in England, his own insight into his leadership and how he was viewed by his peers3.

1. McCrae T. The influence of William Osler on Medicine in America. Canadian Medical Association Journal 1920; 10: 102-5.
2.  Cushing H. The Life of Sir William Osler. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1925.
3. Singer DR. Osler Centenary Papers: Osler as medical leader. Postgrad Med J. 2019;95:647-651. doi: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2019-137019.

Professor Isidore Snapper: Champion of Bedside Medicine
The life of Isidore Snapper (1889-1973), the son of a diamond worker, was defined by ambition, cosmopolitanism, conflict, and antisemitism. As a Professor of Medicine in Amsterdam, Beijing and New York, he played a major role in important developments in medicine during the first half of the last century1. He was a medical celebrity who combined supreme bedside skills and diagnostic acumen, masterly integrated with basic science at a time when big egos were still tolerated and accommodated.

Never living a boring moment, Snapper acted as a football referee and sport scientist at the Olympic Games in Amsterdam in 1928, was a POW of the Japanese and a consultant to the US War Department, and finally fell in love with a CIA agent. His Bedside Medicine became a bestseller. This book presents the story of one of the last great generalists, a race of physicians that is now extinct, and a great champion of the holistic approach to patients. His legacy is still refreshing, topical and challenging for anyone with an interest in all matters of health.

  1. The Life and Work of Isidore Snapper (1889-1973): The Champion of Bedside Medicine, By Arie Berghout. Translated with the support of Petros Perros

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