This question is inspired by Alex Dussaq, an MD/PhD student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. We have discussed how physician-scientists can influence American healthcare. Should physician-scientists be a force advocating for advances and changes in American healthcare? Do they have an obligation to? Or is caring for patients and/or working in the lab to make new discoveries enough? Such advocacy could be at the level of medical center administration, medical licensing boards, federal agencies (e.g. FDA, NIH), local and national political parties, and beyond.
Consider genetics. Advances in genetics have the potential to radically change how care is delivered but also carry potential risks (from privacy to employment) for patients and families. Physician-scientists may be ideally positioned to understand both the promise (as scientists advancing the field) and the risks (as physicians trained to care for patients). Many other examples certainly exist.