Who do you turn to when: You have a difficult clinical problem? You want an update in a specific area? You want someone to address your medical society or continuing medical education course? You need expert advice? Most of you would identify an academician; either a previous teacher or associate, or a current colleague. Academic pediatricians have gained your respect because they are on the forefront of medicine, are reliable and up to date, and provide the "straight scoop." You have come to expect it of them. Academicians are aware of their responsibilities to practitioners, residents, and students, and they respond accordingly.
What will you and your patients do when these academic clinicians no longer exist; no longer exist, at least, in their traditional roles? Your initial reaction is that this is improbable. I believe it is not only possible but highly likely that the academician of today is a vanishing breed.