Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/229

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223
RESEARCH IN MEDICINE

life, but also, and what is more important, to a prolongation of years of useful activity and, perhaps, to a serene instead of painful final deletion.

This leads to the discussion of a new type of department in the medical school, departments or chairs for research only. That such departments are now necessary is the direct result of the unwise policy which, in the past, has led university presidents and medical faculties to appoint as heads of departments men who have little or no training as investigators and no interest in research. As the modern view of the duties of a medical school—teaching, the first duty, but investigation the corollary, essential not only for its own sake, but also for its influence on teaching—gains ground, university authorities find their chairs encumbered with men incapable and disinclined to conduct genuine university departments. New chairs, for research only, are therefore established in order to evade the penalty of a wrong policy and at the same time to secure men with the training and ideals of the investigator.

When university presidents learn that every professorship, clinical and otherwise, ought to be in some measure a research chair, and that research must be combined with teaching, the need for special departments of research will not be so urgent. It is true that clinical teachers are not united on this point; indeed, the weight of their opinion is often thrown in the opposite direction. For example, the anti-university conception of the university clinical professor has recently been very clearly presented by Professor Barker in an extremely plausible argument, in the course of which he proposes that two chairs should be created in the department of medicine—one for teaching and the financial prosperity of the incumbent, and the other for resarch! No more objectionable proposition from a university point of view has ever been made. Officially recognized and sanctioned separation of research from teaching, especially in the clinical chairs, would not only place the university on the level of the secondary school, but would delay all progress in medicine, and, more important still, destroy what little confidence the public is beginning to have in the altruism of university medical education. Let us hope that such counsels may not prevail. Let us work for the recognition of the principle that teaching and research should be combined in every department of the medical school. In the meantime, special departments of research may well be created, not only to make up for the sterility of the other chairs, but in order to attack problems that are of such magnitude and complexity that they may well engage the entire time of those devoted to them. But neither research professorships nor research institutes can ever relieve the professor of medicine or of surgery from the duty and obligation to continue to be creatively occupied in the development of their respective departments.

Existing departments of research are variously described as de-