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Overheard on Our Website

I’d like to respectfully take issue with the publication of “Medicine Man” (spring 2016). I recently completed medical school in Rochester, N.Y., and have witnessed patients taken advantage of by “alternative medicine.” (Let me be clear that I have no firsthand knowledge of Ethan Borg ’94’s practices or patients.) 

I have seen patients forgo proven, beneficial treatments in pursuit of therapies such as “energy medicine” described in the article, which have no evidence of benefit and can be expensive. All the while, their
diseases remain unmanaged and damage accrues.

Swarthmore should not promote “leaps of faith” when it comes to medicine and health. Although you are not physicians, I’d encourage you to heed Hippocrates and consider “first doing no harm.” People’s lives are on the line.

—BENJAMIN MAZER ’10, New Haven, Conn.


One of the great things about Swarthmore is its encouragement of dialogue and respectful openness to the ideas of all of its community members. There clearly is a large divide in Dr. Mazer’s mind between Eastern and Western ideas of health and health care. Nonetheless, there are many Swarthmore alumni who are practitioners of Chinese medicine and far more alumni who seek it out for their own personal supplementary care. 

I work hard every day, like all Swatties I know, trying to do good in this world. I am as passionate, concerned, and considerate about my work as I imagine he is about his. So thank you, Swarthmore College, for giving me and my work a moment—if it does nothing but increase the dialogue between East and West, then I have served my class well.

—ETHAN BORG ’94, Rochester, N.Y.