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JCI Insight. 2018 Dec 6;3(23). pii: 125651. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.125651.

Training the physician-scientist: views from program directors and aspiring young investigators.

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Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
MD/PhD Program, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA.
Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA.
Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Department of Medicine, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, Ohio, USA.
MD/PhD Program, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut, USA.
MD/PhD Program, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Department of Medicine, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, Augusta, Georgia, USA.
Department of Medicine, University of Indiana School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
Department of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, USA.


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).

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