Bauhaus, in Health Reformers’ Wheelhouse

From the Physician Workforce Research Conference, sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Harvard Medical School, Washington, D.C.:

courtesy flickr creative commons user Andy2Boyz

courtesy flickr creative commons user Andy2Boyz

Those Germans. They do some things very well. Cars. Beer festivals. Techno music. (Ok, maybe not that last one.) Health care? I’m not sure.

In any case, Dr. Kevin Grumbach, professor and chair of the department of family practice and community medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, seems to think that the U.S. health reform effort should again take cues from our German brethren…but not from their health care system. No, at yesterday’s meeting, Dr. Grumbach was urging his fellow reform-minded colleagues to look to German architecture. Specifically, to the Bauhaus movement.

I’m not that smart. So I had to Wikipedia “Bauhaus.” Bauhaus was a design school that popularized the notion that form follows function, especially in architecture. And it is that mantra, according to Dr. Grumbach, from which we ought to seek inspiration as we begin reform to the delivery system, to physician workforce development, and to the payment system.

Another presenter, Dr. Lloyd Michener from Duke University (my alma mater, where I took more than a few science classes for non-science majors with J.J. Redick. Like I said, I’m not that smart.) echoed this sentiment. In his words, we need to “blow up the model” of health care delivery that currently exists in this country. We need to start from scratch with a model that first asks the question “What are we trying to do?” and THEN, and only then, “How do we do that?” Form following function (and demolition).

I hope to get some stories up in the next week from this meeting, which was really excellent. Meantime, go look up the Bauhaus school. And somebody get me a Lowenbrau.

—Denise Napoli, d.napoli@elsevier.com (on Twitter @denisenapoli)

1 Comment

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One response to “Bauhaus, in Health Reformers’ Wheelhouse

  1. Miriam

    I’m a deco fan myself (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Deco), but still loved the post!

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