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Sunday, January 15th 2006

Academic Medicine = Depression

This study involved a set of self reporting surveys that got less than 55% response. It found a number of complaints amongst academic physicians and that a significant percentage of them were clinically depressed.

While you have to have respect for the authors who are all notable academians, obviously those who feel there is something that needs to be reported, basically those who are depressed or are likely to report negatives about academic medicine are more likely to complete the survey.

Not to go into my history but I probably have as good a perspective about the condition of academic medicine as any undergraduate medical student. It has certainly been a part of my life since early childhood.

Is life as a physician really just as atrocious as this survey makes it out to be?

The term “crisis” has been used to describe the state of American medical care for a number of years.

There is stress everywhere in medicine and it goes beyond the financial situation and threat of litigation (although these are concerning) to the nature of the job. Certainly, such stress is unavoidable in academic medicine as well along with concerns that attractors for joining academic medicine – research and teaching – are being diminished. But there’s a “crisis” going on?

My perspective is limited to specific academic institutions but…these numbers seem bloated. Still, it’s not like depression manifests itself on the faces of those you pass in the hallway and it is hard to judge the situation without living it. This study could just as well be an accurate representation of the state of academic medicine.

H/T to HCRenewal.