Introduction: Unlike other sciences, e.g. IT or Physics, whose experts’ high level of specialization is regarded as the major key to success, Medicine actually maintains the prerogative of a traditional knowledge, in which a deep understanding is reachable only with practice in at least several of its branches. Besides, since it affects the whole of life of people devoting to it, Medicine is almost a “total experience”, that makes it an Art -in the original sense of the Latin Ars, “skill”-, rather than a simple career. To all this, add up its collective dimension: Virchow’s definition of Medicine as a “social science” dating back to 1848 pioneered the pathway to a broader concept of Health, possibly forerunning the present-day discipline of Global Health. As mentioned in a review by MD N. F. Killen, the distinction between the caring and the curing function of Medicine stressed by Ivan Illich’s Medical Nemesis actually charges physicians with the role “to relieve, to support, to rehabilitate, to make life not only tolerable but rich”: a major duty that professors are supposed to pass on to medical students. Thus, if it is true that “doctors must be one of the most self-critical professions, constantly examining and challenging traditional beliefs”, no doubts that physicians are asked to take position as regards the current deterioration of consumer society and capitalism. That is in fact the reason beyond the creation of the “Doctor for Degrowth” manifesto within the Italian based Movement for a Happy Degrowth. From this project derives the idea to also get young medical students involved in the process of re-thinking Medicine and its teaching in the 21st Century: aware of Illich’s caveat against the wildest forms of medicalization in the future of the Athropocene, “degrowthist” medstudents too are now given the chance to play a key role in promoting a low impact yet high efficiency health care for their own and the forthcoming generations. In the following sections we identified three main axes of work to encourage the spread of the Degrowth movement within the Italian -and possibly international- Medical schools, concerning the self, the academic world and advocacy towards the whole of society respectively.
Contribution to the 3rd International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Venice in 2012.