Despite the fundamental transformations occurring in health care, academic medicine can maintain, and actually enhance, its value to society. But to do so will require a shared vision of where academic medicine should go. The author offers his own vision, one that includes (1) establishing true partnerships between medical schools and the communities they serve; (2) elevating prevention and health maintenance to equal status with diagnosis and treatment; (3) addressing pressing social problems, such as drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, and domestic violence; (4) assuming a leadership role in containing health care costs; (5) harnessing information technology to develop, disseminate, and implement comprehensive clinical information systems, and to provide the public with reliable medical information; (6) fostering racial, ethnic, and gender parity in medicine; (7) carrying out appropriate downsizing and restructuring of the academic medicine enterprise; (8) addressing forcefully the workforce needs for physicians and medical scientists; (9) improving the education of medical students and residents and fostering the conduct of clinical research by creative use of the integrated academic health care systems that teaching hospitals are becoming; (10) developing regional educational consortia to guide important aspects of medical students' and residents' education; (11) building a learning network so that meaningful cross-talk and dissemination of lessons learned can occur among all segments of the academic medicine community; and (12) creating a permanent planning process to guide academic medicine's future. The author concludes that if academic medicine adheres to its tradition of public service and professionalism, its future can be as glorious as its past.
(C) 1996 Association of American Medical Colleges