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Educación Médica

versión impresa ISSN 1575-1813

Educ. méd. vol.7 no.4  oct./dic. 2004


in memoriam

Miriam Friedman Ben David (1938-2004)


Miriam Friedman made her mark in the world of European medical education at the AMEE Conference in Lisbon in the mid 1980’s. In all her interventions Miriam’s youthful and dynamic personality always shone through, and to the end she remained a faithful member of the AMEE.

During the nineteen eighties, Miriam worked at the Faculty of Medical Science at Ben Gurion University in the Negev, and all her efforts were devoted towards the creation of a national centre for medical education in Israel and the completion of her PhD on clinical reasoning and judgment in medicine students. Previously, in the nineteen seventies, she had studied and worked at the University of Wisconsin as an educator focusing on assessment tasks. She went on to gain first-hand knowledge of medical education at Wisconsin Medical College, and indeed never left the field. She established herself professionally in the medical education community, and medical education developed thanks to her.

She was a keen participant in international meetings on medical education, though she built her carrier in the United States (1989-1999) at medical schools in New Mexico and Pennsylvania, and in the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) in Philadelphia, and was also a consultant to leading international organizations. Her teaching and the series of projects that she led had a far-reaching impact. In Madrid and Barcelona, in Ukraine, Brazil, Italy, and Israel, under her guidance and under the auspices of the ECFMG, the implementation of the model for the evaluation of clinical skills in simulated patients is an example of her generosity of spirit and her commitment to innovation and international progress in medical education. Miriam was regularly invited to the congresses of the Spanish Society for Medical Education (SEDEM), and the Society is proud now to pay her the tribute she deserves. In 1994, Miriam Friedman returned to the AMEE conferences in Athens, now as Miriam Friedman Ben David, together with her inseparable companion Shaoul Ben David. An economist by education, his involvement in Miriam’s professional and social life was remarkable, so much so that he is now working hard to finish the projects that she would never be able to finish. In 1999 she moved to Dundee (Scotland) as a consultant and visiting professor at the Centre for Medical Education at Dundee University. Miriam soon adapted to this new environment, and collaborated with the Scottish medical society in post-graduate assessment.

Miriam Friedman, Miriam Friedman Ben David, left a profound impression in international medical education. Her legacy covers many areas, from curriculum innovation to training educators and students to make them into experts, which was her last project. Nevertheless, if we were to choose the profile that best defines the results of her research and work, we would have to opt for her favourite area: assessment. The words evaluation, assessment, and measure abound in the titles of her numerous international publications (more than 70). This is an accurate reflection of Miriam Friedman’s personality: scientific, exact and effective, but also her human dimension, her determination to understand interpersonal relationships. Interestingly, her friends say that Miriam would sometimes seem to be evaluating and appraising their personalities and circumstances.

I know the words I have written will be shared by all those of us who, at least in Spain and Iberoamerica, have been lucky enough to have known Miriam Friedman Ben David, to have been her friends, to have benefited from the wealth of her knowledge and ability as a medical educator, to have had the pleasure of her company, to have appreciated her human qualities: her generosity, her loyalty, her audacity, her love of innovation, her closeness, her warmth ... In my name and in the name of all those who knew her: Miriam, we will always love and admire you.

Margarita Barón Maldonado
October 2004

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