A school can run two types of deficits. The Medical School, for instance, had no trouble at all balancing its budget on the books last year. But when it came to balancing an ideal research and teaching program with its endowments, the Medical faculty had to cut its program drastically, settling for an academic rather than a financial deficit.
Harvard's Medical School is in a better position than most. In medical schools throughout the country, faculties are continually chopping to meet their incomes. And all the while the public is flooding funds into the well-publicized research projects like Cancer, Heart, and Polio, neglecting the adequate financing of doctors to run and to use these experiments.
Inadequate salaries for teachers and academic researchers has caused a corresponding shortage of students interested in teaching and of professors to run the basic science courses which are a primary part of every medical school program. There are more than enough M.D.'s who come back to medical schools to teach the advanced clinical courses, all the time retaining their private practice. But few Ph.D.s want to instruct future doctors in biochemistry when they can make twice as much money working at industrial research. And, for the same reasons, few students train to become medical educators when it takes about the same number of years to prepare for a much more lucrative practise.
Although the University's medical school does not have sufficient money to lure professors enough to teach and initiate experiments in pure science, it has not done all it can to encourage students studying both in the Brookline and Cambridge graduate schools of science to consider academic careers in medicine. This year, the Medical School began a new integrating course in biochemistry for graduate students who are interested in medical teaching, but this isn't adequate. Since basic science teachers in medical schools must have an overall picture of what is needed in a doctor's training, this course is but a minimum necessity. The main deficiency not filled by this course is that there are graduate students in the University who have very little idea about what medical school courses might interest them. Their advisers usually have had little contact with the distant Medical School, and are unable to advise them. Often a student is steered into a medical course where the professors expect clinical knowledge completely outside a graduate biology or chemistry major's sphere. Thus, with no chance to compete with the future doctors, the grad student usually turns his back on the Medical School, leaving behind many courses which would fit his interests and knowledge perfectly.
Advisers who know both schools and a closer connection between the graduate departments can stimulate a biochemist's interest in the Medical School, but in addition the Medical School must tackle its own students in a completely different way if its faculty wants to push some of them into education. The School, according to the theory that those who want to teach will become teachers anyway, leaves its men alone. Until the fourth year there is little opportunity for students to receive any individual instruction on research projects. Moreover, there are less summer scholarships to enable the faculty to instruct them in teaching pure science with a medical emphasis. The school now shuffles its student through a four year program that usually equips one with enough training to start internship but with little in pure research methods. A give the students the training, but it would also induce more Ph.D.s into medical teaching. It would give them a paying job in July and August, something they don't have now as their colleagues with M.D.s do.
Of course the Medical School would need more money for a summer program, but at least it can enlarge its contacts with other graduate schools without much added expense. At the same time, it and other schools must campaign vigorously, explaining to the public that huge research projects will dry up without the small streams of doctors which feed into them from the medical school.