Certain occasions prompt evaluation of and reflection on our current state of affairs and our future direction. Such is the case with the centennial of The University of Texas Medical School at Galveston. Inasmuch as a medical school provides the foundation for future physicians to practice medicine with compassion and to actively seek solutions to medical dilemmas, interpersonal skills and critical thinking are essential to the future of medicine. We must face the problems encountered in the process of educating physicians and implement changes that assure that these elements of compassion and critical analysis are passed on to our future colleagues. Physicians who are engaged in the practice of medicine on a full-time basis (hereafter referred to as practicing physicians) can help us impart these elements to our students. In addition, they can help identify other essential components of medical practice that should become part of medical education.