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 Physician scientists

Physician scientists


Mohammad Reza Zali

Director, Research Center for Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases, Shahid Beheshti University, M.C., Iran 

[1]As the field of medicine is continuously changing, with growing and rapid advancing genetics and molecular biology, which is directly related to gastrointestinal diseases?

We should know that gastroenterology is also changing and we need to protect and expand this scientific endeavor to ensure that the rate of basic and translational discovery keeps pace with needs and interests of our GI patients to ensure our practices evolve with the field and with advances of science and technology.

It is important for us, as gastroenterologists, to consistently stay with the latest news and researches and to recognize and identify challenges in the future and to see the opportunities to determine how well we can care for patients with GI disorders. Therefore, we must realize that technological developments in the area of gastroenterology imaging and testing, especially those related to cancer prevention, are reliable, nevertheless, common endoscopy procedures currently performed by trained GI will not be useful in near future.

We know that any changes may create stress for gastroenterologists, but we should be prepared for the future to ensure that sciences and practice of gastroenterology continue to succeed in order to achieve effective changes, nevertheless, it is important to face significant challenges in our society to maintain work values and to develop innovative ways to establish commendable gastroenterology researches in order to help and ensure qualified and promising researches in academic setting.

We have a clear commitment to train and educate gastroenterologists at all level of training and we need to bring genetic, proteomic, biology, technology and clinic to gather for better practice based on research priorities and needs as outlined by our scientific committee. In the mean time, we must emphasis on cancer prevention, early diagnosis, obesity, aging population, inflammatory bowel diseases, hepatitis, and chronic liver diseases.

We need to provide and support trained manpower to fulfill our needs and expectation in near future and to enhance interaction between basic scientists and clinicians with the aim of facilitating the diagnosis.

Furthermore, we need to train physician-scientist as MD-PhD for transitional research from bed to bench. Running a successful research program as MD-PhD, we need to bring young investigators to the center and generate enough funding to support them and provides security for physicians and scientists to be able to address their careers and plan for future.

On these bases, we will hold an MD-PhD student program as a postgraduate course in conjunction with fellowship program in gastroenterology. Meanwhile, academic skill workshops should be arranged to assist junior faculty members and trainees in order to improve their understanding of academic procedures and to develop their skills in a high competitive academic environment.

This program will encourage MD-PhD students and junior faculties to consider academic careers in GI series of lectures, meanwhile, interactive discussion will emphasize on the broad spectrum of GI research opportunities.

On the other hand, gastroenterologists must be ensured to have necessary tools to provide the best care for their patients. This can be accomplished by practice guidelines, providing necessary resources for efficient practice management through valuable grant funding. We will be able to support clinicians as specialties to combine clinical practice with bench research in order to contribute its role in improving patient care. 

We should revamp GI training program and promote basic scientists, clinical investigators, endoscopists and technologists to develop GI division in order to fulfill not only the increasing demands of our patients but also the education obligation.

We will continue to support gastroenterology-associated research programs which can potentially improve our patient care. Putting patient interests and satisfaction first, all else follow from the basic principal.

Received: 10 November 2007   Accepted: 7 December 2007

Reprint or Correspondence: Mohammad Reza Zali, MD, FACG. Research Center for Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases, Shahid Beheshti University, M.C., Iran.

E-mail: article@rigld.ir