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Tensions in Medical Education: the Search for Balance

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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. Rashi Fein, Center for Community Health and Medical Care, Harvard University, 643 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115.

Boston, Massachusetts

Ann Intern Med. 1974;80(5):651-656. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-80-5-651
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Medical education faces a number of tensions. Three are examined. The first derives from federal funding patterns. These have caused faculty to respond to priorities set by persons outside the university; in the process, traditional freedoms of the university have been severely restricted. The ability of faculty to meet their responsibilities in the role of social critics, in educating students, and in searching for "truth" is weakened. Conversely, faculty attitudes that they are not accountable to anyone and should be supported even if they retreat from society's concerns is unacceptable. Balance is required. A second tension involves the tradeoff between research and patient care. Resources are limited, and choices must be made. These need to be debated because no formula can provide the answer. Finally, balance in faculty concerns is required. More attention needs to be paid to issues involving the organization and financing of medical care.





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