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J Grad Med Educ. 2016 Feb;8(1):85-90. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-15-00135.1.

Outcomes of a Novel Training Program for Physician-Scientists: Integrating Graduate Degree Training With Specialty Fellowship.



Although physician-scientists generally contribute to the scientific enterprise by providing a breadth of knowledge complementary to that of other scientists, it is a challenge to recruit, train, and retain physicians in a research career pathway.


To assess the outcomes of a novel program that combines graduate coursework and research training with subspecialty fellowship.


A retrospective analysis was conducted of career outcomes for 123 physicians who graduated from the program during its first 20 years (1993-2013). Using curricula vitae, direct contact, and online confirmation, data were compiled on physicians' subsequent activities and careers as of 2013. Study outcomes included employment in academic and nonacademic research, academic clinical or private practice positions, and research grant funding.


More than 80% of graduates were actively conducting research in academic, institutional, or industrial careers. The majority of graduates (71%) had academic appointments; a few (20%) were in private practice. Fifty percent had received career development awards, and 19% had received investigator-initiated National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 or equivalent grants. Individuals who obtained a PhD during subspecialty training were significantly more likely to have major grant funding (NIH R series or equivalent) than those who obtained a Master of Science in Clinical Research. Trainees who obtained a PhD in a health services or health policy field were significantly more likely to have research appointments than those in basic science.


Incorporation of graduate degree research, at the level of specialty or subspecialty clinical training, is a promising approach to training and retaining physician-scientists.

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