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August 10, 1984

Tenure in Medical Schools-Reply

Author Affiliations

University of California, San Diego School of Medicine

JAMA. 1984;252(6):768. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350060018015

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In Reply.—  These letters reinforce one of the major arguments of my essay—that tenure is a highly emotional issue. Equating the preservation of tenure with humanitarianism, Oslerian tradition, and the "stupidity" of medical school administrations is obfuscatory and irrelevant. They also ignore the most important point of my article—namely, that in medical school, tenure guarantees only a small fraction of a faculty member's income. If all other sources of income are removed, the part that is protected by tenure would not be enough to sustain the life-style of most faculties, including probably the writers of the letters.These letters should also not be taken out of context with those of many thoughtful comments I have received. These arguments hold that at a time when retirement age is moving ever higher, or is being abolished altogether, the concept of tenure will keep universities from placing on their faculties the brightest young