Research Issues Compendium

The Physicians Committee

Research Issues Compendium

The materials in this compendium are designed to stimulate discussion of how medical research and training is currently conducted, investigate areas that may benefit from reform, and to ask what our research priorities should be. There is so much research and training that provides real hope to patients, investigates important health concerns, and provides crucial skills to physicians, but many areas merit a critical look.

Publicity surrounding Cold War-era nuclear tests on unknowing civilian populations demonstrated the horrors of unethical human research. Recent drug trials in the developing world and human growth hormone experiments on children in the U.S. have raised heightened concern that the research community is not always taking proper care to protect human subjects from harm.

Similarly, many health professionals have reacted with consternation and distaste at animal experiments that are far removed from human health needs and cause a great deal of unnecessary suffering. Some worry that many experiments actually impede progress by leading researchers down the wrong path.

Questions about unnecessary animal use also arise when discussing medical school live animal laboratories. Many students, administrators, and noted physicians—such as Henry Heimlich, M.D.—feel there are more appropriate means to learn the basics.

What are your thoughts on these issues? This compendium includes overviews of these topics and supplementary publications which offer further insight. When I was in medical school, I found that my stand on research issues would become central to my career choice in medicine. I hope you find these materials