Translation through argumentation in medical research and physician-citizenship.

Kennedy Institute of Ethics journal

PubMedID: 22392535

Mitchell GR, McTigue KM. Translation through argumentation in medical research and physician-citizenship. Kennedy Inst Ethics J. 2012;33(2):83-107.
While many "benchtop-to-bedside" research pathways have been developed in "Type I" translational medicine, vehicles to facilitate "Type II" and "Type III" translation that convert scientific data into clinical and community interventions designed to improve the health of human populations remain elusive. Further, while a high percentage of physicians endorse the principle of citizen leadership, many have difficulty practicing it. This discrepancy has been attributed, in part, to lack of training and preparation for public advocacy, time limitation, and institutional resistance. As translational medicine and physician-citizenship implicate social, political, economic and cultural factors, both enterprises require "integrative" research strategies that blend insights from multiple fields of study, as well as rhetorical acumen in adapting messages to reach multiple audiences. This article considers how argumentation theory's epistemological flexibility, audience attentiveness, and heuristic qualities, combined with concepts from classical rhetoric, such as rhetorical invention, the synecdoche, and ethos, yield tools to facilitate translational medicine and enable physician-citizenship.