Waning Ranks of Physician-Scientists

A National Institutes of Health working group warns that the number of clinicians trained as researchers could soon dwindle.

Rina Shaikh-Lesko
Jun 9, 2014

FLICKR, ALEX PRIOMOSThe number of physicians who are also trained as research scientists in the U.S. may drop precipitously in coming years, according to a report published last week (June 6) from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Physician-Scientist Workforce Working Group. According to the report, the current physician-scientist workforce is aging, and fewer young investigators are joining their ranks.

The group found the number of physician-scientists age 60 and older is growing. “We’re being sustained by this aging group,” coauthor David Ginsburg of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, told ScienceInsider.

Ginsburg said that his group’s primary concern is that as older physician-scientists retire, there won’t be enough researchers to replace them from the younger cohort. He and his colleagues recommended that the NIH increase training opportunities and make changes to grant programs to support younger researchers. “All the NIH can do is call attention to...

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