In truth, it is very easy to become discouraged about the status of the physician–scientist, particularly the one who holds an MD degree only. However, it is the individual’s commitment and fortitude that leads to success. And success must not only be measured by the number of R01s a person accumulates. Often, we tend to forget or ignore the bounty of foundation, government, society, and pharmaceutical grants that are available to worthy investigators. Dr. Goepfert’s well-articulated vision of what needs to be done in order for our society to realize the benefits of its huge financial and personal investment in medical advancement stands as his greatest legacy, and one that we would all be well advised to heed.
Explore This IssueNovember 2007
Rest assured that the physician–scientist model is alive today. It is producing dedicated individuals who stay committed to the ideal that as physician–scientists they possess a unique appreciation for a particular disease process and that their interest in combining their clinical interests with their scientific ones will benefit all. There are many physician–scientists for whom the rewards might be hard to come by, but the satisfaction of accomplishment and recognition for their work are immeasurable and heartwarming. So yes, the physician– or surgeon–scientist ideal is present and working well in our specialty. Hopefully you will look around and identify those in your ranks who fit the bill and recognize that many discoveries have been made that have changed the way we understand our specialty and the diseases we treat due to their efforts.
- Goepfert H. Hayes Martin Lecture. Training the head and neck surgeon-scientist. Am J Surg 1995;170(5):410–5.
- Dickler HB et al. New physician–investigators receiving National Institutes of Health research project grants: a historical perspective on the “endangered species.” JAMA 2007;297(22):2496–501.
- Kaiser J. Appropriations. House bill signals the end of NIH’s double-digit growth. Science 2003;300(5628):2019.
- Mayor S. NIH announces new strategy for research. BMJ 2003;327(7418):765.
- McLellan F. NIH director reviews first year on the job. “Roadmap” calls for reorganisation of basic and clinical research. Lancet 2003;362(9381):381–2.
©2007 The Triological Society