As I was pondering my own departments inability to attract new faculty (if you or someone you know wants to teach Family Medicine, please contact me), I ran across this article (on Robert Bowman’s site) published by the  Millbank Memorial Fund about the future of Academic Medicine, which apparently is in worldwide trouble. The authors point out:

  •  We have trouble translating basic research findings into practice
  • Evidence based medicine is not utilized to make patient care decisions
  • Academic and practitioner linkage is poor at best
  • An individual physician cannot be highly functioning in the clinical, teaching and research world simultaneously
  • Traditional research assessment tools place emphasis in the wrong place
  • Research careers are not desirable
  • Academic medicine does not pay as well as clinical medicine
  • The academic career path is unclear and inflexible
  • Problems with career progression particularly salient for women
  • There is a disconnect between research focus and global (or local) health needs
  • Medical education does not prepare graduates for a career in medicine
  • Pressures to participate in care delivery squeeze other academic pursuits
  • Leadership is problematic, particularly in countries with a limited leadership infrastructure
  • Academic medicine relates poorly to its stakeholders: patients, policymakers, practitioners, the public, and the media

Fortunately, this country has just passed the “Patient Protection and Affordability Act“. Included are several provisions which will make Family Medicine educators more valued and Family Medicine Education more effective. These provisions include Title VII enhancements,  rural training grants, the primary care extension program, teaching health centers, and some reform of the way Medicare pays for education in a community setting. In addition, many of the enhancements in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation change the training environment as well. It is entirely likely that only 5 years after the Milbank Fund published this report, President Obama may have  bent the education curve  as well. Only time will tell.

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