The United States is the world leader in biomedical science (BMS) education and research. This preeminence is reflected in superior medical education, the attraction of U.S. educational institutions to foreign visitors seeking advanced training, and a high rate of transfer of knowledge between basic biomedical research and the delivery of health care at the bedside. The foundation for this excellence and leadership has been the research carried out by MD and PhD biomedical scientists. It has been suggested that there is now an oversupply of BMS PhDs, and thus that BMS PhD programs should be downsized. Full examination of the issues involved, including a case study of doctoral graduates and postdoctoral fellows at Tulane Medical Center, leads the authors to conclude that a biomedical PhD “glut” does not exist at the present time, that downsizing training programs would have a serious, long-term negative impact on biomedical research, and that medical school administrators and faculty should resist attempts to reduce biomedical research and training at the local and national level. However, times have changed and training programs must evolve to adapt to the technologic changes occurring in the workplace. Alternatives, such as new alliances with industry, must be sought to compensate for decreased resources at federal and institutional levels; new and innovative curricula must be developed to prepare biomedical scientists for nonacademic, as well as academic, job opportunities in the twenty-first century; and medical center administrators and faculties must work together to increase the visibility of BMS and stress its critical relationship to the research base of the nation.
Created Date: 16 May 1997; Completed Date: 16 May 1997; Revised Date: 18 December 2000
© 1996 Association of American Medical Colleges