We all know a few: a busy, full-time practicing pediatrician who somehow manages to publish case reports, review articles, write chapters, conduct office-based drug trials, submit editorials, etc. My colleagues, Sheldon Siegel and Gary Rachelefsky, come to mind. These dynamos truly bridge the gap between academic medicine and practice, and seem to love it. They are usually the most respected clinicians in the community. Their contributions are immense. We need more of them.
One common ingredient among these physicians, I believe, is a background in research—in undergraduate school, medical school, residency, or fellowship. Somewhere in their medical education, they learned to observe, record, and write.
Research training for the medical trainee is like music lessons for the 5-year-old child. The discipline is good for you, it will make music part of your life, and it will make musicians of a few of you. Like music lessons, few choose