Orthopaedic Surgeon Publishes Book on Physicians in Congress with Dean Goldschmidt’s Endorsement
Orthopaedic surgeon Rene F. Rodriguez, M.D., believes doctors should take part in politics. So to inspire them, the former assistant professor of clinical orthopaedics at the Miller School, who recently retired as chief of orthopedics at the Miami VA, compiled a book about the hundreds of physicians elected to the U.S. House or Senate since the Continental Congress in 1774.
While most of the pages in “Physicians in Congress 1774-2011” are devoted to the 437 lawmaker-physicians who have served through the 111th Congress – which Rodriguez painstakingly researched for five years – the book also includes chapters on physicians who signed the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, and those who have served as governors and on the U.S. Supreme Court, and, more predictably, in the appointed post of Surgeon General.
As Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., notes in a dust-jacket endorsement, the book’s aim of encouraging “more physicians to get involved in politics so the humanitarian medical perspective voice will be more balanced and part of the legislative process” is both worthy and essential for the new era of medicine.
“The book brings unique information about the contributions of physicians to our U.S. Government and politics,” the Dean wrote. “As we are preparing for a medicine shift from managing disease in the 20th Century to managing health in the 21st Century, we need to provide our government with individuals who are highly knowledgeable in the medical field and also well versed in public health and health policy.”
Published by the American Medical Association, the book also pays tribute to “all in medicine who serve the public” and “reminds us that it is not just a privilege to actively participate in our democratic system, but it is a responsibility to our patients, colleagues, and profession.”
A retired colonel of the U.S. Army Medical Corps who served as chief of the orthopaedic clinic at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for 10 years, Rodriguez is no stranger to public service, nor publishing. The founder of the Interamerican College of Physicians & Surgeons, he also created the National Hispanic Youth Initiative to encourage Hispanic high school juniors and seniors to pursue careers in health, sciences, and biomedical research and launched Medico de Familia, a Spanish consumer health magazine.
“It is important for physicians to be part of the political process,” Rodriguez says. “We need their voices in Congress, and at every level of government.”