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The Rising Challenge of Training Physician-Scientists: Recommendations From a Canadian National Consensus Conference.

Acad Med; 2017 Aug 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28817429
Physician-scientists are individuals who actively participate in patient care, have undergone additional research training, and devote the majority of their time to research. Physician-scientists are traditionally the primary catalysts in bridging the translational gap-that is, the failure to link fundamental new knowledge in the pathobiology of disease with advances in health care and health policy in a timely manner. However, there has been a shift away from training physician-scientists, and financial support for the physician-scientist is diminishing globally, causing the translational gap to grow. Given its socialized health care system and cultural and geographic diversity, Canada can serve as a unique case study in understanding how to address this phenomenon as a national priority. To this end, a Canadian national consensus conference was convened to develop recommendations for training programs and early-career supports for physician-scientists. Five recommendations were generated: (1) Establish an independent, national council whose mandate is to provide pan-Canadian oversight of physician-scientist training programs; (2) develop capacity for funding and mentorship support for physician-scientists; (3) develop coherent networks across a broad range of clinician-scientists, including physician-scientists, to reflect the unique cultural and geographic diversity of Canada and to reflect the interdisciplinarity of health research; (4) ensure that medical school curricula integrate, as a core curriculum feature, an understanding of the scientific basis of health care, including research methodologies; and (5) ensure that the funding of the physician-scientist trainee is viewed as portable and distinct from the operational funding provided to the training program itself.