Why don’t people realize that today’s research is tomorrow’s treatment? That research is not a luxury but an ongoing necessity? Why don’t more freshly minted, young psychiatrists pursue a career in research to accelerate the pace of progress about the biological causes and treatments of serious psychiatric disorders? Why aren’t there more incentives to grow the next generation of psychiatric discoverers and Nobel laureates? Why don’t clinicians support research by referring patients to clinical trials of medications or to National Institutes of Health-funded investigations of the neurobiology of psychiatric disorders?
Are these just rhetorical questions?
Some might sound that way. But they are not. These questions are brewing inside the hearts and minds of many psychiatrists, although only a few seem determined to relentlessly seek answers on which medical science and society can act.
We should collectively pose these “why” questions and not accept long-winded, hollow answers. We need to foster the winds of change—not resign ourselves to winds in which answers blow about but, ultimately, disappear.