Academic Health Centers Under Stress: External Pressures
Domestic tranquility returned quickly to the United States with the end of the Vietnam War. Nevertheless, in the 1970s and 1980s, academic health centers came under new external pressures. Other aspects of the outside environment began to turn sour, as social and demographic trends, new government policies, and changing public attitudes started to work to their disadvantage. Medical schools and teaching hospitals were increasingly perceived as stressed institutions, and a dispirited mood developed among them. Their confidence and sense of autonomy, so prominent before World War II and during the mythic “golden age” of the 1950s and 1960s, dwindled. Always dependent upon external funding, medical schools had never been as truly autonomous as it once seemed. Nevertheless, it now appeared that they were vulnerable to every jolt on an increasingly bumpy road.
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