As part of a wider initiative to shape the future direction of research training for the biomedical workforce as a whole, we at the NIH are actively pursuing ways to examine the physician-scientist workforce and to optimize training for clinicians seeking research careers. Physician-scientists face some challenges and career transition pathways unique to being in a clinical career track, hence the need for a specific focus on this workforce.
In 2014, the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) working group on the physician-scientist workforce (PSW) recommended that NIH intensify its efforts to increase diversity among physician-scientists. The group recognized major deficiencies of the physician-scientist workforce with regard to diversity, and strongly endorsed extending the recommendations of the preceding biomedical workforce diversity working groups to the physician-scientist workforce.
Since the ACD PSW report contained few concrete recommendations for enhancing diversity, this month NIH issued a request for information, with the goal of gathering community input on questions such as: What are the career trajectories unique to underrepresented groups among physician scientists? What are potential barriers to a diverse physician-scientist workforce? And what strategies could successfully enhance the diversity in this subset of researchers?
If this is a topic you’d like to share your perspective on, be sure to read the request for information published in the NIH Guide, and use the submission website to send your formal comments to NIH.
Armed with evidence-based research and concrete information from individual respondents and professional organizations alike, we hope to develop and pilot strategies for removing barriers preventing a diverse workforce, and most importantly, apply such strategies broadly.