It is generally acknowledged that there is a dearth of well-trained physician scientists in the United States. A number of recruitment and training mechanisms have been introduced to address this problem. For several reasons, the shortage is particularly acute in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the need for rehabilitation research is on the rise. In order to address this shortage the PIs submit this proposal for continued support of the Rehabilitation Medicine Scientist Training Program (RMSTP), funded over the last 15 years by the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, through the K12 funding mechanism.
The specific aims of this program are to: 1. Identify PM&R residents at the beginning of their residency training who demonstrate interest in and potential for independent research careers in academic physiatry. 2. Identify junior PM&R faculty with significant research potential who reside in departments that would be supportive of their further research career development, and who have access to highly qualified mentors. 3. Provide early career counseling and scientific mentorship so that promising candidates are optimally prepared for post-doctoral research training at the completion of their residency, or are able to enter a research fellowship at the faculty level with a high degree of preparedness. 4. Assist promising candidates by linking them with the appropriate mentors and designing appropriate career development plans. 5. Select the best candidates from this potential pool for admission to the funded portion of the RMSTP (Phase I). 6. Ensure that, at least by the time of completion of Phase I of their training (the NIH-funded portion), trainees are hired into academic faculty positions suited to their continued development as independent scientists (Phase II), or have structured career development support from the departments where they already reside. The ultimate aim of this program, to which the above aims all contribute, is to increase the number of rigorously trained, extramurally competitive, and scientifically productive faculty members in PM&R departments, who can contribute to the continued development of physiatric research specifically and rehabilitation science in general.
The Institute of Medicine and many others have pointed out that there is a shortage of research related to chronic disease and disability. This shortage impacts a large percentage of the United States population as better interventions are needed to assist people in overcoming disabilities and maximally participating in society. The Rehabilitation Medicine Scientist Training Program will impact public health by training the next generation of physician researchers who will complete work in this underserved area and translate their research such that the lives of individuals with disability are improved.
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