The National Physician’s Alliance recently held a National Grand Rounds at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. The presentation, “Understanding Emerging Trends in Industry-Academic Relationships” was given by Eric G. Campbell, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of Research at the Mongan Institute for Health Policy.

Dr. Campbell’s presentation is an excellent overview of academic-industry relationships and how they can affect patient care, medical education, and the process and outcomes of biomedical research. He also addresses the role of organizational culture in promoting patient safety in in-patient care.

And, not only is Dr. Campbell a respected sociologist and researcher with more than 50 peer-reviewed publications in journals including the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association, but his presentation style is wonderfully accessible and engaging.

Dr. Campbell starts his presentation by saying his goal in life is to provide people who make decisions about health care with data that can inform the decisions they make. He says he has a “‘crazy belief’ that organizational decisions and laws and policies should be based on research rather than anecdote and allegation, or beliefs about things that ultimately turn out to be completely untrue.” It’s hard to argue with that.

The presentation is certainly worthwhile for anyone in senior policymaking capacities, but also highly recommended for all doctors, nurses, residents and medical students who are interested in understanding what is going on in their work and educational environment.

Dr. Campbell describes what got him interested in studying academic-industry relationships—he was working on his PhD and his advisor recommended he look for somebody behaving in a way that he didn’t understand. For Dr. Campbell, who was teaching anatomy in the medical school at the time, there was free food available in conference rooms around the hospital, available to anyone wearing scrubs. He didn’t understand this behavior: Why was all that free food being made available?

What follows is a terrific analysis of the benefits and risks of academic-industry relationships. Dr. Campbell covers marketing relationships, research relationships, samples, and more. After discussing the risks and benefits, he also goes through a series of myth-busters that clarify his points and further summarize the evidence.

We invite you to view and share the webcast of his presentation, and let us know what you think!

–Anna Dunbar-Hester, Policy Analyst

The National Grand Rounds series by the National Physician’s Alliance, as well as Community Catalyst’s role in the Partnership to Advance Conflict-Free Medical Education, is made possible by a grant from the state Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant Program which is funded by the multi-state settlement of consumer fraud claims regarding the marketing of the prescription drug Neurontin.