Friday, March 09, 2007

Getting Paid at a Med School

Health Care Renewal has a great post about how teaching is the bottom priority at many academic medical centers where physicians are trained. Teaching physicians are paid less than public school teachers for their teaching duties in many instances, and nearly always get paid much less per hour for teaching than for research or patient care.

I've known psychologists and psychiatrists at medical centers and they often seemed nervous to me. Why? Because their salary was based on algorithms that most closely resembled a Choose Your Own Adventure book.

The base salary was close to nil, and they then had to make their salary through seeing patients and/or working on funded research. If you wanted to work on research on something unsexy (read: not funded by the government or a drug company), you were pretty much doing it for free. Hence the lack of academics working at medical centers who can conduct research that challenges the dominant paradigms of today. Teaching? Hey, just because they were teaching future psychologists and physicians doesn't mean they actually got paid for it.

Maybe that's also why academics at medical centers also tend to avoid speaking out in most cases -- they wouldn't want to get labeled as a "bad apple" who no drug company wishes to fund. Maybe that person could find some government grant money but getting blacklisted by Big Pharma does not exactly make you a top dog for getting government money.

If you follow the "correct" choices, you can make a bunch of money and become a "key opinion leader." If you choose incorrectly, well, you can become David Kern, Betty Dong, David Healy, Nancy Olivieri, Gretchen LeFever, or the like.

Read Health Care Renewal's excellent take on the situation.

1 comment:

Stephany said...

This is right on target. I saw it for myself. GREAT post.