What Is Academic Internal Medicine?

Erik J.J. Goserud
Erik J.J. Goserud

Academic internal medicine refers to the marriage of academia and the medical discipline of internal medicine. There are many specialties within the medical field, and internal medicine is one in particular that deals with preventing, diagnosing, and treating many diseases that affect adult populations. Academia is the overall approach to problem solving through research. Academic internal medicine therefore refers to the method of acquiring new knowledge pertaining to adult diseases.

Those who are employed in the field of academic internal medicine may be involved in a variety of capacities. On the medical side, doctors, nurses, and other professionals deal with disease on a daily basis. On the academic side, many highly educated individuals with research skills and vast medical knowledge design and conduct studies that reveal new truths about the body. Sometimes, people from different sides of the spectrum can work together, and other times, a person may cross over as both a doctor and researcher, for example.

Many times, sick individuals receive treatment without putting any thought into how the treatment came about. Every drug or concoction on the market has evolved through research. Without research in medicine, nothing could be produced to help people with particular diseases. A common internal medicine issue such as diabetes, for example, is treated through measures like blood sugar regulation and insulin injections. The fact that people even know what causes diabetes, in addition to its treatments, is due to academic internal medicine and its implications.

Academic internal medicine may also refer to the educational aspect of this field of medicine. Internal medicine professionals are not simply made overnight, and gaining an understanding of this subject takes years. While nurses may have varying degrees in postsecondary education, most doctors require an undergraduate degree followed by medical school and residency.

Other professionals like physician assistants and nurse practitioners fall somewhere in between in terms of education. Without the academic aspect of internal medicine, these important professionals could never be trained as efficiently and effectively as they are today. Teaching is yet another capacity in which qualified individuals can become part of academic internal medicine and help further the field.

The academic and clinical aspects of internal medicine are both very important to each other and the general population. If internal medicine were only research oriented, there would be no way to apply it to curing disease. On the other hand, if there were only practitioners, the medical practices would stagnate. By coupling academia and proactive, academic internal medicine, new treatments are revealed and put into practice.

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