Decline of clinical research in academic medical centers NEUROLOGY Meador, K. J. 2015; 85 (13): 1171-1176


Marked changes in US medical school funding began in the 1960s with progressively increasing revenues from clinical services. The growth of clinical revenues slowed in the mid-1990s, creating a funding crisis for US academic health care centers, who responded by having their faculty increase their clinical duties at the expense of research activities. Surveys document the resultant stresses on the academic clinician researcher. The NIH provides greater funding for basic and translational research than for clinical research, and the new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute is inadequately funded to address the scope of needed clinical research. An increasing portion of clinical research is funded by industry, which leaves many important clinical issues unaddressed. There is an inadequate supply of skilled clinical researchers and a lack of external support for clinical research. The impact on the academic environment in university medical centers is especially severe on young faculty, who have a shrinking potential to achieve successful academic careers. National health care research funding policies should encourage the right balance of life-science investigations. Medical universities need to improve and highlight education on clinical research for students, residents, fellows, and young faculty. Medical universities also need to provide appropriate incentives for clinical research. Without training to ensure an adequate supply of skilled clinical researchers and a method to adequately fund clinical research, discoveries from basic and translational research cannot be clinically tested and affect patient care. Thus, many clinical problems will continue to be evaluated and treated with inadequate or even absent evidence-based knowledge.

View details for DOI 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001818

View details for PubMedID 26156509

View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4603883