Purpose: Clinician-scientists have a high attrition rate at the junior-faculty level, before they gain independent funding. We identified the lack of skill set, clinician-scientist community and collaboration between clinician-scientists and clinicians with predominantly clinical duties, as key problems in our medium-size college of medicine. Methods: We designed a novel two-year educational program, the Clinician-scientist Faculty Mentoring program (FAME) specifically to target junior clinician-scientists. The program enrollment included both lab-based, “traditional” and “non-traditional” clinician-scientists, with predominantly clinical duties and limited time for research. The curriculum included the novel educational tools: Emerging technology seminars and mentored work-in-progress research seminars, integrated with mock grant review. Results: The first class enrolled 17 clinician-scientists with diverse clinical subspecialty, previous research training, and protected research time. After two years in the program, the self-assessment of FAME scholars demonstrated strong improvement in grantsmanship skills, career development, emerging technologies, and the sense of community and collaboration. Compared to the period before initiating FAME, scholars increased annual scholarly output by 65% and new extramural funding by >20-fold ($0.189 vs $4.0 million) following completion of FAME. The “traditional” clinician-scientists, who had >50% research time, increased new extramural funding by ~25-fold ($0.134 vs $3.336 million), whereas “non-traditional” clinician-scientists who had ≤50% research time increased new extramural funding by >13-fold. Conclusion: Results suggest that a training program tailored specifically to clinician-scientists leads to increased scholarly productivity and grant funding regardless of research background. Implementing this type of training program nationally, with inclusion of clinician-scientists with various amounts of protected time for research, will help both “traditional” and “non-traditional” clinician-scientists to obtain a substantial independent extramural funding, fulfill their scholarly potential, and enhance their sense of community. Our model would be particularly useful for small-to-medium sized academic institutions, who have a limited clinician-scientist workforce facing competing health care system needs.
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