Intended for healthcare professionals


BMJ Publishing Group to launch an international campaign to promote academic medicine

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 30 October 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:1001
  1. Jocalyn Clark, assistant editor, and project manager of the campaign (jclark{at},
  2. Richard Smith, editor
  1. BMJ
  2. BMJ

    Please join us

    Academic medicine is in crisis across the world.14 Medicine's capacity to research, think, and teach is collapsing just at the time when science, social trends, and globalisation are offering great opportunities—and threats. The BMJ Publishing Group wants to help revitalise—and reinvent—academic medicine. How can academic medicine best prepare for the 21st century? We don't have an answer, but we propose a great debate.

    We are not even entirely clear on the diagnosis. Why is academic medicine failing? The increasing pressure to provide service is one cause. Faced with healthcare reforms and government retrenchment, clinical research programmes and funding have withered. Lack of financial incentives and increasing disillusionment about the prospects of a career in academic medicine have hampered efforts to recruit and retain faculty. Financial pressure on universities means that the brightest and most imaginative scholars come second to the scientists who bring in large sums from industry. Lack of rewards for good teachers poses a serious threat to future medical education and research.

    Collective action is needed, and the BMJ Publishing Group is keen to be a catalyst. Our board has given us £50 000 to start the process. We want to partner with individuals and organisations to create dialogue and debate about the best strategies to revitalise academic medicine. It seems clear that more of the same will not be enough for academic medicine.15 It needs to change, and we should probably talk of academic health care not academic medicine. The campaign, international and collaborative in spirit, will, we hope, encourage more resources to flow into academic health care and promote reinvestment in scientific and teaching excellence.

    The BMJ Publishing Group is in a good position to spark the campaign. We, like other publishers, depend on what academic medicine produces. Academic health professionals constitute a core readership. It's in our best interest to raise the profile of academic medicine both within the profession and internationally.

    But we cannot possibly do this alone. We are busy forming links, but we need a leader, an international advisory board, and help from as many institutions, academics, and other journals as possible. Funding for the campaign may come from a range of private and public organisations including pharmaceutical companies themselves beneficiaries of academic medicine.

    Please send us your suggestions and nominations for the leader of this international campaign to promote medicine.

    Education and debate p 1041


    • Competing interests Both authors are employees of the BMJ Publishing Group. The group expects to spend money on this campaign not to make money, but the group would hope to benefit from a successful campaign.


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