Physician-scientists serve as a critical bridge between the research laboratory and the clinic, uniquely positioned to conduct innovative biomedical research and translate relevant insights into meaningful improvements in human health. The success of the physician-scientist within the academic and biomedical research enterprise is clear, as dual-degree trained investigators are disproportionately represented among successful NIH grant awardees and recipients of honorary distinctions such as the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Despite these successes, recent trends described in the NIH Physician Scientist Workforce Study predict the future extinction of this highly-specialized cohort, citing obstacles such as the lack of demographic diversity, high rates of career attrition among junior investigators, and limited mentorship. In response, the NIH and other associations have initiated programs to prevent this population crash. One such organization is the American Physician Scientist Association (APSA), a student-driven, non-profit organization dedicated to career development and mentorship of physician-scientist trainees. In addition to its national reach, APSA maintains a strong regional presence through annual meetings in the Southeastern, Northeastern, Midwestern, Southern, and Western regions of the United States. This year we are proud to host the 2017 APSA West Regional Meeting at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine on December 2nd, 2017. The purpose of the meeting is to provide a framework for bridging the scientific and mentorship gaps in physician-scientist training. Through interdisciplinary scientific talks by early and established clinician-scientists, workshops tailored to academic career development, and extensive outreach efforts to women and individuals underrepresented in science and medicine, the proposed conference will stimulate novel scientific collaborations, address critical voids in the physician-scientist training pipeline, and foster development of a diverse next-generation of scientists.
Advances in biomedical research depend on innovative scientific collaborations and mentorship of a diverse next-generation of scientists. The proposed 2017 American Physician Scientists Association West Regional Meeting will enable and support such exchange. Through interdisciplinary scientific talks, workshops tailored to professional development, and extensive outreach efforts to groups underrepresented in the sciences, this meeting will serve as an excellent forum to promote novel collaborative research ventures and encourage junior trainees in pursuit of this career trajectory.