Canary in the Coal Mine


Europe is on our minds, of course, and I often think back to an interaction I had at the American College of Cardiology meeting this past March. I was moderating a poster session and several Greek colleagues presented a well-designed and intriguing study. After the session ended, we spent a few moments chatting. It did not take long to learn about their concerns, after I wished them continued success with their research.

Harrieta171/Wikimedia Commons

I sensed both resignation and sadness, as if the ACC could be their last international conference for many years to come. We can argue over the root causes of the global financial crisis, question the viability of the European model, and speculate about the possible exit of Greece from the Euro. But for our Greek – and perhaps Spanish, Portugese, Italian, and Irish – colleagues, academic medicine may suffer a decline that could last a generation. Add this to a long list of worries here in the United States about the future of health care delivery and research, and we can only hope that Greece is not the canary in the coal mine.

Dr. Paul Hauptman is Professor of Internal Medicine and Associate Dean of Clinical-Translational Research at Saint Louis University and Director of Heart Failure at Saint Louis University Hospital.

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