To address the widely recognized decline in the physician-scientist workforce, new approaches are needed to recruit talented physicians to pursue research as an integral part of their medical training and their future careers. The Stimulating Access to Research in Residency (StARR) initiative will provide a new point of access to research by accelerating the entry of residents into meaningful research pursuits during residency. This bold initiative will engender, and require, a substantial change in graduate medical education. Here we propose the University of Pennsylvania (Penn)-StARR program, which will tap into a talented and highly motivated pool of diverse residents in Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Pathology, and Pediatrics. The Penn-StARR program will provide opportunities for these residents to pursue mentored research on topics within the mission of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The program will take advantage of a thriving and interactive physician-scientist community that has benefitted from a strong institutional commitment to training, recruitment, and advancement of physician-scientists, particularly those from groups underrepresented in the biomedical sciences. Penn-StaRR will become an anchor for a larger institutional effort to support physician- scientist development and careers. The Penn-StARR program will uniquely provide access to research in residency for 3 residents per year to pursue 12 months of focused research integrated with clinical training and starting as early as possible while maintaining the clinical training required for specialty board certification. The unique features of the Penn-StARR program are: the outstanding, diverse, and motivated resident pool; an existing demand from residents for training for research careers; strong institutional support for physician- scientist training that is evident in the infrastructure, programs, and momentum for physician-scientist training already in place; institutional commitment to support a slot beyond those funded through NHLBI; an outstanding faculty representing diverse areas of research relevant to NHLBI; and a fully integrated campus with an exceptionally interactive research environment across departments and institutions.
Physician-scientists are ideally suited to help integrate clinical insights into research and enable the adoption of scientific advances into clinical practice. However, the number of physician-scientists is shrinking in the US despite an overall increase in physicians and the rapid pace of scientific advances. We propose to address that need with a program of integrated research training in residency while maintaining outstanding clinical training. !