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April 1989

A Perspective on Careers in Academic Medicine

Author Affiliations

New Haven, Conn

Arch Intern Med. 1989;149(4):969-972. doi:10.1001/archinte.1989.00390040159042

To the Editor.—I comment on the editorial, "Careers in Academic Medicine," by Alpert and Coles in the September 1988 issue of the Archives.1 I have been a faculty member at Yale full time since 1955, and my perspective differs slightly from theirs. Academic medicine, whether clinical practice or research, has been a fine way to have a career. One can be angry and frustrated, but boredom is rare. To work unfettered by the restraints of patient care and finance, to move from laboratory pursuits (as they were defined in the 1950s and 1960s), to the joys of clinical teaching, and, finally, to find equilibrium in the distance from the constraints of academia that the library lends permits filling out the different stages of medical life. There are problems living in a rigidly hierarchical system, where each new "chairman," more like Mao Zedong than American democracy might require, is