Dr Koempel's letter points to several problems associated with research in academic otolaryngology programs. First, he highlights the massive average debt incurred by graduating medical students, which imposes enormous pressures on decisions about the length of training. The National Institutes of Health has recognized this obstacle and offered to repay $35 000 of medical student loans for students participating in 2 years of research training. The money is not taxed as income, and it retires debt, reducing the accumulation of interest and increasing the monetary effect of this repayment. Thus, the federal government has already recognized and taken action to deal with this problem.
Naclerio R, Baroody F. In reply. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2002;128(8):982-983. doi: