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Great Medical Schools Have Great Clinical Practices

January 29, 2019
Photo by Robert A. Lisak
Patients from across the region and beyond seek the expertise of Yale Medicine physicians. Shown here, Guadalupe Garcia-Tsao (right) and GI Fellow Adelina Hung.

Clinical practices affiliated with medical schools have long been fertile ground for—and often in service of—educating students and conducting research. At Yale School of Medicine, providing outstanding patient care is also a mission in and of itself that is vital to our role as a preeminent medical school.

Over the past decades, the responsibility to provide the nation’s most difficult and complex health care has increasingly fallen to academic medical centers. Across the country, patients requiring tertiary and quaternary services turn to academic physicians for their care, seeking their expertise as those working on the cusp of medical advances and discoveries. In parallel, academic medical centers have accepted the social responsibility to provide a safety net for all patients, especially those who may not otherwise have access to health care. In New Haven, our clinical enterprise connects YSM and the university to the city in fundamental ways and we view our ability to provide exceptional care for its residents—and increasingly patients across Connecticut and beyond—as an essential aspect of our purpose.

Yale physicians have made many historical contributions to improving patient care, including the first use of cancer chemotherapy, the first artificial heart pump, and the first insulin infusion pump for diabetes. Today, working in collaboration with Yale New Haven Health, approximately 1,400 Yale Medicine physicians in 18 clinical departments, Yale Cancer Center, and the Center for Musculoskeletal Care, treat patients at sites along the shoreline from Westchester, NY to Rhode Island. We have recruited top clinicians across a variety of specialties to create a multidisciplinary practice that is not only a major referral center for the state and the region, but also attracts patients from around the world.

Our clinical enterprise also supports innovative science directed at improving patient care, the acceleration of treatments from the bench to the bedside, and the availability of clinical data that can be used to drive advances in clinical care and population health. Over the past decade plus, in addition to the support of the National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), we have significantly invested in our clinical research infrastructure as part of our goal to increase the pace of developing improved treatments that are available not just to the patients we treat, but across the entire country. Eight percent of our new patients choose Yale because of our research, recognizing that the medical advances upon which they and others depend are a result of these efforts.

We also count on our clinicians to help train the medical students, residents, fellows, and physician associates who will be tomorrow’s leaders in medicine. Their guidance and skills thus improve the lives not only of the patients we treat today, but also those in future generations who will benefit from the legacy of excellence we have established.

Countless patients have relied on the care we provide through our clinical practice. Its scope and quality, as well as its intertwining with our missions of research and education, are at the forefront of what makes us a great medical school.