What is a "Best Hospital"?

U.S. News ranked the hospitals again, and my employer came in first, for the 20th year in a row. I can't be unhappy about that!

But how should you choose a hospital anyway? I wrote about that a little while ago - it's more complicated than U.S. News makes it out to be.

Unfortunately, as a recent research article points out, the U.S. News index is based nearly entirely on reputation. Which is not a terrible thing, as I pointed out, just incomplete.

Maybe we should rank hospitals (or, at any rate, medical schools) according to a different index, say social mission? Some folks tried that, and their results are presented in the Annals of Internal Medicine (subscription required).

In that list, Hopkins, as well as NYU - where I trained for residency - are ranked rock-bottom. But the criteria used to quantify social mission has some big problems, as an accompanying editorial points out (sub. req.).

Until we have comprehensive outcome measures, it looks like we're going to have to integrate all indices according to our own individual metrics. Isn't that called reputation?


Disorientation in shul

I went to a synagogue in San Francisco on Shabbos and Sunday, and I was asked to lead davening on Sunday. I did not refuse the customary three times, because I am greedy for the amud. (Good thing I found that imperfection to work on, as we start the long slow slide, or hard sweaty climb, into fast-n-forgiveness. Because I'm lacking any others. Yes that's right.)

Leading davening for the first time somewhere is disorienting. You know someone thinks you're going too fast. Someone else wonders why aren't you songful & joyous & Carlebachelicious; a third grumbles why you don't get the hell on with it already, some people work for a living.

And then, of course, it's disorienting for them. It's Bob's turn today! Fie on thee, you usurper, why are you displacing Bob?

I find this disorientation a useful microcosm of liberal Judaism. You're never quite sure. You don't have the fundamentalist's confidence that God has blessed your every move. You have the narrow ells of the religious life and the wide anomie-spaces of modernity. You're always going too fast and too slow, always displacing someone.

But then there's hot tea afterwards (hot tea is welcome in San Francisco, even in July) and someone brought biscotti. Good morning!



I can sing the praises of the Ecco Anthology of International Poetry.

I can also mention that my translation of Glatshteyn was included! I know this only because a friend was browsing at the Newark airport and picked up the book.

Buy the book!