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December 22/29, 2004

Professors Not Professing

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2004;292(24):2971-2972. doi:10.1001/jama.292.24.2972-a

To the Editor: I would like to add two considerations to the points raised by Dr DeAngelis regarding the plight of the clinician-teacher.1 First, I believe that, in general, the criteria to be a professor at the university level include demonstration of creativity, ie, the development of some original work of interest to colleagues rather than solely to students. This should be the challenge to the clinician-teacher along the road to academic advancement. Second, I am unaware of any study demonstrating that residents and students learn more content knowledge from the lips of their professors than they do from reading, other residents, or working out clinical problems in their own patients. However, the critical and irreplaceable importance of the clinician-teacher lies in role-modeling. The challenge to academic departments is to assess and reward physicians who inspire and motivate those under their tutelage.

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