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From the Dean

Thoughts on Innovation

Photo credit: John SoaresTending to the traumas inflicted upon fragile humans was likely among the earliest tasks confronting healers in ancient times. Attending to wounds remains a fundamental task for physicians: There’s never a shortage of accidents and injuries—nor, it seems, of wars.

In this issue of Harvard Medicine, we describe some of the advances that HMS physicians and researchers are making to treat wounds. Whether the trauma springs from flame, explosion, or other insult, those who have been physically injured can rely, as they have through the ages, on the caring touch of a physician who deftly wields the latest tools to initiate, speed, or complete the healing process.

We also look at approaches that HMS alumni and clinicians are taking to soothe the spirit and mend the mind. One example takes us to La Paz, Bolivia, where the commitment of an alumnus to provide medical care to street children in this South American city has blossomed into an organization that helps children gain the educational, employment, and social skills they need to play a larger role in society. Another looks at the power that make-believe and play can have when in the hands of hospital staff who seek to protect their young patients from the traumas of illness, injury, and hospitalization. And finally, we enjoy a look at pooches that visit patients, dispensing calm and companionship that can be measured in smiles.

On a different note, we bring you what may qualify as some “back-to-School” stories. We mark with pleasure the continuing presence of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra, a group populated largely by HMS physicians and students, by saluting the twentieth anniversary of its Healing Art of Music program, a philanthropic effort that continues to support the work of many health care–based nonprofits. And we delight in bringing you news of a tiny garden—planted in the shadow of the Countway Library—that is poised to become a novel tool for students, faculty, and anyone interested in learning about natural medicines.

Autumn represents a return of opportunities to settle in with a good read. Like this issue, we hope.


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