In the presidential address before the Western Society for Clinical Research, Don H. Nelson, MD,1 reaffirmed that the primary function of the medical school has been and should remain the provision of basic understanding of scientific principles on which the practice of medicine is based. He noted that when universities rely heavily on federal funds, and many of them actively participate in programs such as the regional health-care centers, community service becomes the primary objective as against the academic interests and the dictates of academic wisdom. He suggests that one should look for funds elsewhere so that the school would have more freedom of action.
The emphasis on poverty, community care, and social injustice is often used as an excuse for overconcentration on community service; this happens in response to protestors, both students and faculty, and reflects the ills of the times. A university, and still more so the