As I interview candidates for admission to medical school, I marvel at the experiences they have had compared with my generation. International travel, volunteer experiences of kaleidoscopic diversity, exposure to research from the bench to the clinic, excursions into disciplines far removed from medicine—these young people roam far beyond the traditional track that I and most of my classmates followed.

Similarly, the perspectives of medicine and of pediatrics have broadened constantly. Although good physicians always have realized that any aspect of the human condition is relevant to the patient's welfare, we now formally study areas that were not part of the curriculum decades ago. One example is cultural effectiveness, which has had more than one name but in essence connotes sensitivity to and knowledge of the elements of culture that affect a patient's outlook and habits. The spiritual aspect of a person's life, always known to be important, has received...

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