Number of Pediatric Physician Scientists Shrinking

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

James L. Wynn, MD Department of Pediatrics, Department of Pathology, Immunology, and Laboratory Medicine University of Florida, Gainesville

Dr. James Wynn

James L. Wynn, MD
Department of Pediatrics,
Department of Pathology, Immunology, and Laboratory Medicine
University of Florida, Gainesville

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Reports from the National Institutes of Health show a reduction in physician-scientists. Objective data on R01 funded pediatric physician-scientists, including the number of R01 awards, individuals awarded an R01, as well as their institutions, subspecialty, academic rank, leadership status, and sex are unknown.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: The majority (76.53%) of the 2471 unique awards were new (< 5 years of support), with 5.34% that extended beyond 15 years of support. Six National Institutes of Health institutes supported 75.4% of the unique awards and fifteen institutions accounted for 1561 (63%) of the unique awards. Among the 1593 unique awardees, 57% were physician-scientists, of which 36.4% were women. The majority (58%) of physician-scientists currently hold the  rank of Professor, and 24% of Professors also hold chief, chair, or dean positions. Hematology-Oncology, Academic general pediatrics, Infectious Disease, and Neonatology divisions represented 47.4% of the physician scientists.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: We found 907 pediatric physician-scientists had an R01 award during the study period. The majority were male, had achieved full professor, and many held positions as chief, chair, or dean. The paucity of awards made to investigators predominantly in mid-level or senior positions with dual (academic/administrative) roles raises concerns for our ability to motivate and develop young trainees to choose this path. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: We hope that this study sheds light on the pediatric physician-scientist work force and continues to reinforce the need to provide programs and additional support for early stage investigators.

Disclosures: Dr. Wynn receives support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National institutes of General Medical Science (K08GM106143) and the NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (R01HD089939). Dr. Good is supported by grants K08DK101608 and R03DK111473 from the National Institutes of Health, March of Dimes Foundation Grant No. 5-FY17-79, the Children’s Discovery Institute of Washington University and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and the Department of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis. 

Citations:

Good M, McElroy SJ, Berger JN, Wynn JL. Name and Characteristics of National Institutes of Health R01-Funded Pediatric Physician-ScientistsHope and Challenges for the Vanishing Pediatric Physician-Scientists. JAMA Pediatr. Published online January 16, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.4947 

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/article-abstract/2668292?resultClick=3&redirect=true

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