David H. Newman, M.D.

Director of clinical research, Dept. of Emergency Medicine, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine

Leading voice calling for reform of both medical practice and the 'health care system'.

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Biography

His extraordinary experience gives Dr. David H. Newman unique insight and perspective on medicine and health care.

He is an emergency room physician and director of clinical research at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.

He also is a major in the U.S. Army Reserves and served a tour of duty with the 344th combat support hospital in Baghdad, where he received an Army Commendation Medal. He can speak about his experiences in Iraq and about war medicine.

Dr. Newman has become a leading voice calling for reforms in health care — in the ways we deliver care and in the 'system' in which the care is delivered. He offers bold new ideas on how to restore access, quality and efficiency as the sovereign forces in health care.

He questions 'holding down costs' as the primary objective in health care reform and he urges a much deeper respect for good science in a field that claims to be based in science.

Dr. Newman is the author of Hippocrates' Shadow: Secrets from the House of Medicine — What Doctors Don't Know, Don't Tell You, and How Truth Can Repair the Patient-Doctor Breach.

In his presentations as in his book, Dr. Newman cuts to the heart of what really works in medicine — and what doesn't — and he builds a bridge between doctors and their patients. He returns to the practice of Hippocrates, the father of medicine: be an avid listener with a constant bedside presence and a respect for both science and the power of human healing.

David H. Newman teaches at Columbia University and the Department of Emergency Medicine, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.

David is an engaging, deeply researched and eloquent speaker on a topic that lies at the center of today's social concerns.

Fixing Health Care
To repair our most crippling domestic problem, we must first understand this: there is no ‘American health care system’. The phrase is a construction, a semantic figment. We have instead a free market system in which health care services are traded for profit, in which profit is the sovereign force.

Nor is 'cost' the primary problem in health care, as politicians, policy makers and many others often claim. To say that 'cost' is the problem is to mistake the symptom for the disease. When profit is the sovereign force in the system, spiraling costs are a good thing, since costs to the consumer represent profits to the system. It therefore makes no sense to talk about "cutting costs" in health care as long as profit is the sovereign force.

A proper 'health care system' would deliver three things: access, quality and efficiency. These should be the sovereign forces in health care. If they were, moreover, costs would come down. Profit?—fine. But not as the sovereign force.

Hippocrates' Shadow
Every doctor takes the Hippocratic Oath, the famous invocation named after the so-called father of medicine, the Greek physician Hippocrates. However, many doctors do not follow Hippocrates' own practice of listening carefully to the patient as part of a deep relationship that seeks to call out the patient's own profound capacity for healing. Instead, says Dr. David H. Newman in his book, Hippocrates' Shadow, there often is a profound disconnect between doctor and patient, a disregard for the healing power of the bond, and, ultimately, a disconnect between doctors and their Oath.

The root of this divergence, says Dr. Newman, lies in the patterns of secrecy and habit that characterize the "House of Medicine," modern medicine's entrenched and carefully protected subculture. In reflexive, often unconscious defense of this subculture, doctors and patients guard medical authority, cling to tradition, and yield to demands that they do something or prescribe something. The result is a biomedical culture that routinely engages in unnecessary and inefficient practices, and leaves both patient and doctor dissatisfied. While demonstrating an abiding respect for, and a deep understanding of, the importance of modern science, Dr. Newman reviews research that refutes much common and accepted medical wisdom. He cuts to the heart of what really works in modern medicine and rebuilds the bridge between physicians and their patients.

Credentials

  • Director of clinical research, Dept. of Emergency Medicine, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.
  • Former director of clinical research, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital.
  • Former teacher, Columbia University, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital
  • Major, U.S. Army Reserves, tour of duty in Iraq
  • Army Commendation Medal
  • Author, Hippocrates' Shadow
  • Residency in emergency medicine; fellowship in biomedical research and resuscitation research

Books

Hippocrates' Shadow

Secrets from the House of Medicine

David H. Newman, M.D.

What Doctors Don't Know, Don't Tell You, And How Truth Can Repair the Patient-Doctor Breach

Everyone knows of the Hippocratic Oath, the famous invocation sworn by all neophyte physicians. But most don't realize that the father of modern medicine was an avid listener and a constant bedside presence. Hippocrates believed in the doctor-patient connection and gained worldwide renown for championing science over mysticism while respecting and advocating the potency of human healing. Today, argues Dr. David H. Newman, medicine focuses narrowly on the rewards of technology and science, exaggerating their benefits and ignoring or minimizing their perils. Dr. Newman sees a disconnect between doctor and patient, a disregard for the healing power of the bond, and, ultimately, a disconnect between doctors and their Oath.

The root of this divergence, writes Dr. Newman, lies in the patterns of secrecy and habit that characterize the "House of Medicine," modern medicine's entrenched and carefully protected subculture. In reflexive, often unconscious defense of this subculture, doctors and patients guard medical authority, cling to tradition, and yield to demands that they do something or prescribe something. The result is a biomedical culture that routinely engages in unnecessary and inefficient practices, and leaves both patient and doctor dissatisfied. While demonstrating an abiding respect for, and a deep understanding of, the import of modern science, Dr. Newman reviews research that refutes common and accepted medical wisdom. He cites studies that show how mammograms may cause more harm than good; why antibiotics for sore throats are virtually always unnecessary and therefore dangerous; how cough syrup is rarely more effective than a sugar pill; the power and paradox of the placebo effect; how statistics and studies themselves are frequently deceptive; and why CPR is violent, invasive — and almost always futile.

Through an engaging, deeply researched, and eloquent narrative laced with rich and riveting case studies, Newman cuts to the heart of what really works — and doesn't — in medicine and rebuilds the bridge between physicians and their patients.

Scribner; Reprint edition (September 15, 2009)
Scribner; 1 edition (September 9, 2008)

Topics

David tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

Healthcare Reform

Health care reform is real, and the challenge for organizations and individuals will be how to flourish. There are tremendous, and nearly infinite, opportunities to improve care by realigning high quality with low cost in ways that lead to smarter utilization—with better outcomes. The innovators in health care, the success stories, will be those who genuinely understand science, data, and human factors, and apply their knowledge in ways that are patient-centered.

Evidence-Based Healthcare Leadership

Dr. Newman speaks to how health systems can partner with communities by building trust and applying evidence. It is a message about the partnership between science and society, patient and doctor, health system and community. They are deeply intertwined. When these relationships are built on trust and honesty satisfaction goes up, utilization goes down, and efficiency improves. Outcomes get better while costs are reduced. Everyone wins.

Videos

The Number Needed to Treat | Wired

Truths That Lasts | TEDx

Feedback

A nonprofit health care system:
He was excellent of course and set the stage for a great retreat!

A state government organization:
He was fabulous. One of the best speakers we have ever had, and I have been doing this for 30 years.

I have to say that both the content of his presentation, his delivery, coupled with a delightful, self deprecating sense of humor, welcome in a physician, made him a stand out among the speakers at our conference. Dr. Newman had an extremely relevant message for state elected officials.

I would, if the opportunity presents, use him again in a heartbeat.