In a piece published by The Washington Post, Mukesh K. Jain, professor of medicine, wrote about how the coronavirus pandemic has exposed weaknesses in the health care system, including a lack of a particular kind of biomedical worker: the physician-scientist.
“Physician-scientists are the all-too-rare doctors whose careers combine patient care and biomedical research. Anthony S. Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is a quintessential example. Research by physician-scientists has led to some of the most important medical advances such as penicillin for infection, chemotherapies for cancer and statins for heart disease,” wrote Jain. “Unfortunately, the physician-scientist workforce has been on the decline for decades. The most recent data shows that less than 1.5 percent of all U.S. doctors do research. We need a well-trained group of readied physician-scientists who can be deployed at any time to meet our nation’s medical needs, whether a coronavirus pandemic or other health emergencies.”