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Research Fellowships in Pulmonary and Critical Care FREE TO VIEW

John L. Kirkwood; Norman Edelman, MD
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New York, NY; Mr. Kirkwood is Chief Executive Officer, and Dr. Edelman is Consultant for Scientific Affairs, American Lung Association.

Correspondence to: John L. Kirkwood, American Lung Association, 1740 Broadway, New York, NY 10019-4374.

Chest. 2002;121(1):1. doi:10.1378/chest.121.1.1
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In a recent editorial written by Dr. Block (November 2001),1 he takes issue with American Lung Association (ALA) procedures that are designed to maximize the likelihood that fellows who receive research training awards pursue research careers, and therefore do not support clinical training. We respond that the reasons for these procedures are straightforward and compelling.

We receive many more qualified applications than we can award. The funds received by the national ALA to support fellowships are designated for support of research. Our advisory committees have long taken the position that these monies are best used by supporting the training and work of researchers early in their careers, prior to their becoming competitive for National Institutes of Health support. A recently completed study of the effectiveness of this approach showed that 85% of awardees continued their work in research and many had become leading scientists. Thus we believe that the program has been highly successful and that use of these funds for goals other than advancing research would not be keeping faith with our supporters—the American public. In this spirit, most state and local Lung Associations follow the procedures set by the national ALA.

Let us now turn to the substantive issue, people power in pulmonary and critical care medicine. Block1 pointed out that the recently completed Committee on Manpower of Pulmonary and Critical Care Societies (COMPACCs) study predicts an inadequate supply of pulmonary and critical care specialists in the relatively near future. This may well be the case. However, given the collective size of clinical training programs, ALA support could only increase the pool of trainees to a very limited degree. The major funding for graduate medical education is provided by the federal government through the Medicare program and through other governmental vehicles in a few states. Any significant increase in external support for subspecialty training in pulmonary and critical care medicine will require changing the policies of these programs. The ALA Scientific Advisory Committee will soon undertake a review of the COMPACCs study. If, as seems likely, we concur with the findings and recommendations, we stand ready to work with interested professional societies and others to make the case to governmental agencies and the American public.


Block, AJ (2001) Is anyone paying attention?Chest120,1431-1432. [PubMed] [CrossRef]




Block, AJ (2001) Is anyone paying attention?Chest120,1431-1432. [PubMed] [CrossRef]
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