Ensuring the survival of the clinician-scientist

R W Schrier
Academic Medicine 1997, 72 (7): 589-94
Many forces threaten the survival of the clinician-scientist as an academic species, among them: (1) the changing health environment; (2) the complexity of and rapid advances in biomedical science, which necessitate that MD-PhD graduates "retool" after completing their clinical training; (3) the length and rigor of the research training required to train clinician-scientists adequately; (4) the scarcity of funding for subspecialty training positions; (5) the perception that the successful clinician-scientists in academic medicine are those who focus on basic, rather than clinical, research; (6) the indebtedness of young physicians when they complete medical schools; (7) the fierce competition for research funding; and (8) pessimism among senior faculty about the clinician-scientist's potential for survival. There are solutions to these issues that must be vigorously pursued to ensure the survival of the clinician-scientist: (1) Rigorous six- to seven-year programs (e.g., two in internal medicine, four to five in a subspecialty) for physicians must be established. They should include a minimum of three years of research and should lead to board certification in internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, etc., board certification in a subspecialty, and a PhD in clinical science. (2) These programs must have a choice of three tracks, (a) disease-oriented basic research, (b) clinical investigation in patients, and (c) health services research. Such a program--the PhD in Clinical Science program--has recently been approved and begun at the University of Colorado. (3) Funding organizations such as the National Institutes of Health should designate their training resources primarily for programs with a minimum of three years of formal and rigorous research training. (4) These rigorous research training programs must be integrated with young-faculty awards for clinician-scientists to ensure continuity in their investigative careers. (5) Loan-repayment programs must be developed to repay student loans of clinician-scientists during their first five years as faculty members. (6) Against the background of these changes, senior faculty as mentors must articulate to emerging clinician-scientists the excitement of being involved in future discoveries in biomedical science.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"