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What is the difference between academic physician and physician scientist?

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by marq_bme, Jun 7, 2002.

  1. marq_bme

    marq_bme Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 25, 2002
    Milwaukee, WI
    does anyone know?
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  3. Tweetie_bird

    Tweetie_bird 7+ Year Member

    Nov 20, 2001
    sounds like physician scientist = MD/Phd. Or atleast a physician that does research at a major univ.

    I always think of academic physicians to have atleast two of three jobs--
    1. have patients (they're doctors!)
    2. do research
    3. perhaps teach some clinical classes

    I have seen tons of docs do all 3 at my univ. I suppose a physician scientist might stress more of "2" and "3" while having very little patients. That's just my guess.
  4. SMW

    SMW Grand Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2001
    anchorage, ak
    The academic physician teaches at a medical school, and the physician scientist does research.
  5. USeF

    USeF sunny L.A. 10+ Year Member

    I second the grand SMW on that one <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    One thing not mentioned is the difference in clinical vs. basic research. This should probably be discussed (or already is) on the MSTP forum, but I'd think academic physician is the label placed upon clinical investigators whereas physician scientists are more of the basic science researchers. Of course both could also be seeing patients, but the former is more likely to.
    Also note the name "Medical Scientist Training Program" would seem more naturally to imply the training of Medical Scientists or Physician Scientist
  6. ellerose

    ellerose Member 7+ Year Member

    Depending on the circles with which you are running, both can refer to people with MD's who do some sort of research and who also may teach at med schools. In general, I think that physician scientists are those MD's who may or may not also have PhD's and who do research most of the time (usually basic science) and do little to no clinical work (seeing patients) and may or may not teach. Academic physicians, in general, work or are associated with medical schools and/or large medical institutions, where they have clinical (seeing patients), research (basic science and/or clinical research), and oftentimes, teaching responsibilities (to medical students and/or residents). Key words: scientist=deals with science; academic (academia)=learning and/or teaching.
  7. Spudster

    Spudster Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2002
    Palo Alto
    Academic physicians can take on any of a number of roles associated with academic hospitals. An academic physician could, for instance, be a clinical professor who is in charge of training residents.

    Physician scientist refers more to those who do research as well as clinical care
  8. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jun 4, 2001
    Spudster's beating me to the punch on all the threads. :) Anyway, that's exactly right. The distinctions are between academics vs. private practice and medicine vs. research. There can be overlap in any or all of these areas. Many academic physicians spend at least a portion of their time doing some form of research, whether it be clinical or bench. Most MD/PhDs stay in academics and many of these become physician-scientists in that they do some combination of medicine and research. However, a fair number of MD/PhDs go into private industry. These days academic/clinical appointments and private enterprise are often associated and a physician-scientist may be involved in both elements. As you can see, there is no single "right" formula--part of being an MD/PhD is learning to carve your own path. Hope this helps. :D
  9. oldbearprofessor

    oldbearprofessor Administrator Rocket Scientist Physician Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Mar 13, 2002
    I wonder what happened to "tweetie"? Did she fly away after starting medical school all those years ago?

    I have "very little patients" since most of my babies are < 2 kg :p. So I guess I'm a physician scientist and an academic physician.

    Although often used interchangeably, in general it is possible to be a physician scientist and not be in academic medicine. For example, one could practice medicine in a private setting while working for a private research or pharmaceutical company. This is uncommon but not unheard of (I know a few). Such folks may have an honorary or limited academic appointment. It is certainly common to be an academic physician, that is, one who works for a medical school, and not be a scientist, that is, not do research.

    But, mostly I like having "little patients"!

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