February 18, 2004

The Clinical Researcher—An "Emerging" Species

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Chancellor for Health Affairs, Duke University, Durham, NC.

JAMA. 2004;291(7):882-883. doi:10.1001/jama.291.7.882

The discrepancy between current medical practice and the capabilities for improvement is greater now than at any time since the early part of the last century. In the early 1900s, the emerging sciences of chemistry, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, pathology, physics, and microbiology provided the potential to transform medical practice. Nonetheless, the field was anecdotal, unscientific, and unregulated. In 1910, the Flexner Report influenced the development of the modern academic medical center, where students are educated and trained by research-oriented faculty who practice in teaching hospitals.1 This integration of the core missions of education, research, and clinical care led to understanding the pathophysiologic basis of diseases and therapeutic modes capable of modifying them.

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