When Ralph Snyderman,
was elected chair of the Association
of American Medical Colleges
in 2001, he was at the fore-
front of leaders in academic medicine who ­were thinking about
the changes looming in health care. In his chair’s address at the
annual meeting the next year, Dr.  Snyderman discussed
the ­ great strides that medicine had made since World War II as
a result of our country’s investment in biomedical research and
development. He described the sequential emergence of the fields
of genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics—areas ­ of study that
would allow us to better understand, diagnose, and treat complex
diseases. He also outlined a practice of medicine based in ­these
discoveries—­one that was proactive, predictive, team based, and
customized for the individual.
At that time, ­ these concepts had not yet attained the broad ac­
cep­tance we see ­today. Perhaps most impor­tant, Dr.  Snyderman
then called on all ­those in academic medicine to “lead the transfor-
mation of American health care in the twenty-­first ­ century, as our
pre­de­ces­sors did in the twentieth ­ century.” This call to action has
resonated with the community in the ensuing years. As changes
accelerate in health care, academic medical centers have been
clearly positioned on the cutting edge of change.
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