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Jim Interview

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JIM: You have had an interesting career, most recently serving as Chair of Medicine at the U. of Pennsylvania and moving to head the Department of Medicine at Cornell. Tell us a bit about the changes and opportunities that led to your move to Cornell.

Dr. Schafer: Penn is an extraordinary institution with many great people. It is my medical school and I am enormously proud of it and loyal to it. At the same time, I believe Weill Cornell is a school on the threshold of rapid ascent, whose high aspirations are quite well synchronized with those of its teaching hospital and parent university. And it has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to develop new programs in a stimulating intellectual environment that promotes creative freedom and innovation.

JIM: You have always been an active supporter of trainee opportunities and have been a member of the [American Federation for Medical Research] (AFMR) since 1978. What role do you see the AFMR playing in the current training environment?

Dr. Schafer: The AFMR has been for decades at the forefront of national advocacy for the support of medical research and the training of medical investigators. I think much of the biomedical research community's failures in the past to persuasively advocate for the sustained growth of federal support for research and research training can be attributed to its fragmented constituency, with innumerable competing special interest research groups appealing for increased funding simultaneously and, I am afraid, often in a way that is perceived to be self-serving. The voice of a united, multidisciplinary body of young investigators is a very powerful one, and, as such, I think the AFMR should continue to intensify its efforts to be a unifying force in educating the public and …

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