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There is growing concern that the physician-scientist is endangered due to a leaky training pipeline and prolonged time to scientific independence (1). The NIH Physician-Scientist Workforce Working Group has concluded that as many as 1,000 individuals will need to enter the pipeline each year to sustain the workforce (2). Moreover, surveys of postgraduate training programs document considerable variability in disposition and infrastructure (3). Programs can be broadly grouped into two classes: physician-scientist training programs (PSTPs) that span residency and fellowship training, and research-in-residency programs (RiRs), which are limited to residency but trainees are able to match into PSTPs upon transitioning to fellowship (Figure 1). Funding sources for RiRs and PSTPs are varied and include NIH KL2 and T32 awards, charitable foundations, philanthropy, and institutional support. Furthermore, standards for research training and tools for evaluating programmatic success are lacking. Here, we share consensus generated from iterative workshops hosted by the Alliance of Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM) and the student-led American Physician Scientists Association (APSA).
The completion of the Human Genome Project has unleashed a wealth of human genomics information, but it remains unclear how best to implement this information for the benefit of patients. The standard approach of biomedical research, with researchers pursuing advances in knowledge in the laboratory and, separately, clinicians translating research findings into the clinic as much as decades later, will need to give way to new interdisciplinary models for research in genomic medicine. These models should include scientists and clinicians actively working as teams to study patients and populations recruited in clinical settings and communities to make genomics discoveries-through the combined efforts of data scientists, clinical researchers, epidemiologists, and basic scientists-and to rapidly apply these discoveries in the clinic for the prediction, prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The highly publicized US Precision Medicine Initiative, also known as All of Us, is a large-scale program funded by the US National Institutes of Health that will energize these efforts, but several ongoing studies such as the UK Biobank Initiative; the Million Veteran Program; the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics Network; the Kaiser Permanente Research Program on Genes, Environment and Health; and the DiscovEHR collaboration are already providing exemplary models of this kind of interdisciplinary work. In this statement, we outline the opportunities and challenges in broadly implementing new interdisciplinary models in academic medical centers and community settings and bringing the promise of genomics to fruition.
© 2018 American Heart Association, Inc.
PURPOSE - Academic scientists work in competitive environments, and many institutions invest in career development supports. These investments may be imperiled when extraprofessional demands challenge a faculty member's reserve capacity. This research assessed prevalence of caregiving challenges and estimated incidence of stressful life events.
METHOD - In 2015-2016, the authors surveyed recipients of career development awards supporting ≥ 75% effort and individuals within the funding period of their first National Institutes of Health R01 or equivalent at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Domains included family structure, hospitalizations of family members, responsibility for coordination of caregiving, and an inventory of stressful life events.
RESULTS - Seventy-two percent (152 of 210) of early career researchers responded. Over half endorsed experiencing one or more substantial caregiving challenges in the prior year. This included 35 (23%) having a child or adult in the household hospitalized in the prior year and 36 (24%) being responsible for health care needs for a child or adult in the household, or for coordinating elder care, assisted living, or hospice care. The majority experienced one or more caregiving challenges. Stressful life events increased relative risk of "thinking about leaving academics" by 70% (risk ratio: 1.7; 95% confidence interval: 1.2, 2.4). Prevalence and incidence of caregiving demands did not differ by gender.
CONCLUSIONS - Leaders, administrators, mentors, and faculty should anticipate that most women and men early career researchers will experience substantial caregiving challenges and life events in any given year. Sufficient need exists to warrant investigation of institutional programs to address caregiving challenges.
RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES - The percentage of clinical scientists in radiology has historically been low. Increasing the pipeline of trainees interested in research could occur by recruiting MD-PhD trainees and providing protected research time during residency. The purpose of this work is to assess the attitudes of radiology program directors toward MD-PhD trainees, resident research productivity, and dedicated research time.
METHODS - An online survey was sent to residency program directors of all diagnostic radiology departments that received National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards in 2014 (n = 63). Survey questions included program size; perception of overall performance, clinical performance, and research productivity of MD-PhD residents compared to non-PhD residents; and presence of dedicated research time. Responses comparing MD-PhD residents to non-PhD residents were reported as a five-point Likert scale. Student t test was used to assess for significance (alpha = 0.05).
RESULTS - Response rate was 37%. Clinical performance of MD-PhD residents was judged inferior (P < .05) to non-PhD residents, although that of all residents engaged in research trended toward superiority compared to those not involved in research. Dedicated research time is offered by 61% of programs in years R1-R3 and all programs in year R4. Research productivity during residency was judged to be similar (P = .5) between MD-PhD and non-PhD residents.
CONCLUSIONS - Survey results suggest that clinical performance during residency and research involvement is often individually based and difficult to generalize based on prior PhD training. All programs offered dedicated research time, and the vast majority of residents were reported to engage in research during residency, which may increase the pipeline of trainees interested in an academic career.
Copyright © 2018 The Association of University Radiologists. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This commentary was written as a collaboration between the Board of the Metastasis Research Society and two patients with metastatic breast cancer. It was conceived in response to how preclinical scientific research is sometimes presented to non-scientists in a way that can cause stress and confusion. Translation of preclinical findings to the clinic requires overcoming multiple barriers. This is irrespective of whether the findings relate to exciting responses to new therapies or problematic effects of currently used therapies. It is important that these barriers are understood and acknowledged when research findings are summarized for mainstream reporting. To minimize confusion, patients should continue to rely on their oncology care team to help them interpret whether research findings presented in mainstream media have relevance for their individual care. Researchers, both bench and clinical, should work together where possible to increase options for patients with metastatic disease, which is still in desperate need of effective therapeutic approaches.
There is a persistent shortage of underrepresented minority (URM) faculty who are involved in basic biomedical research at medical schools. We examined the entire training pathway of potential candidates to identify the points of greatest loss. Using a range of recent national data sources, including the National Science Foundation's Survey of Earned Doctorates and Survey of Doctoral Recipients, we analyzed the demographics of the population of interest, specifically those from URM backgrounds with an interest in biomedical sciences. We examined the URM population from high school graduates through undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral training as well as the URM population in basic science tenure track faculty positions at medical schools. We find that URM and non-URM trainees are equally likely to transition into doctoral programs, to receive their doctoral degree, and to secure a postdoctoral position. However, the analysis reveals that the diversions from developing a faculty career are found primarily at two clearly identifiable places, specifically during undergraduate education and in transition from postdoctoral fellowship to tenure track faculty in the basic sciences at medical schools. We suggest focusing additional interventions on these two stages along the educational pathway.