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Student research explores how doctors rationalize gifts

Although the medical community agrees that accepting gifts from pharmaceutical companies is wrong, a recent study demonstrates that doctors unconsciously rationalize such gifts as a reward for their hard work and sacrifice. Sunita Sah, a Ph.D. student in the Tepper School of Business, and George Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon professor of economics and psychology, co-authored the case study to further explain how doctors rationalize industry gifts.

The study consisted of 301 pediatric and family medicine residents who were split into three groups and then asked to complete a survey about the acceptability of different pharmaceutical gifts. Doctors in the first group were primed with questions about their personal sacrifices in obtaining their medical degrees before the survey began. Doctors in the second group were primed with similar questions, and further asked if their sacrifices could ever justify the acceptance of gifts prior to the survey. The final group was a control for the other two groups’ responses. The results of the study were clear: Doctors cued to think about their hard work and sacrifice more than doubled their willingness to accept gifts, while those who were further cued on the justification of such gifts tripled their overall willingness.

These findings will open the door for others to offer a solution to the issue of pharmaceutical bribes.

Conflict Kitchen fundraises for next phase, new culture

Combining food, culture, and politics, Conflict Kitchen promotes awareness and understanding of countries in conflict with America. Every four months of this year-long project, a new country will be showcased. Since May, the project’s incarnation has been an Iranian takeout restaurant, dubbed “Kubideh Kitchen.”
The traditional kubideh is served in a custom wrapper that contains printed interviews with Iranians on a variety of topics.
However, a new country is due to be highlighted this month. According to a university press release, Carnegie Mellon School of Art professor Jon Rubin, assistant professor of art John Peña, and Waffle Shop assistant Dawn Weleski hope to raise $4,000 by the end of September to fund an Afghan-themed takeout restaurant.
The planned kitchen will be called “Bolani Pazi” and will be the only Afghan restaurant in Pittsburgh. Discussions and daily interactions, like those included in “Kubideh Kitchen,” will promote communication and understanding of international cultures and societies in addition to furthering Pittsburgh’s culinary diversity. A new series of events is planned that will bring together the two cultures in unusual and interesting new ways, according to the official Conflict Kitchen blog.