Promoting the Careers of Physician-Scientists

On February 20, 2020, with the National Academy of Medicine, the PSSF convened a meeting at the National Academy of Sciences to discuss the ever-present issue of the decline of physician-scientists.

The PSSF brought together a group of about 50 individuals, that included pharmaceutical industry leaders, deans from the nation’s top medical schools, key influencers in health policy, senior scientists, and young physician-scientists to discuss this problem and come up with tangible action items to pursue in rectifying this situation. 

PSSF/NAM Meeting – February 20, 2020

A combination of factors, including the structure of medical education and post-graduate medical training, the waning of research funding in the United States, and the decreasing number of programs designed to encourage young people to pursue the physician-scientist career path, has led to a decline in people choosing and sticking to this career path.  If we lose the physician-scientist, we lose a group of people who are uniquely positioned to tackle the difficult questions that will lead to the crucial medical treatments of the future.

In the course of two breakout sessions, groups discussed the issues of financing, undergraduate and graduate medical education, mentorship, and talent identification and retention.  They discussed the entry and exit points along the physician-scientist career pathway and what could be done to stem the loss of candidates from the pipeline. Group leaders will collaborate with the PSSF to work toward the implementation of several action items over the next year and will reconvene in 2021 to assess progress.

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