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May 2014
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From the President: Nurturing Research Careers

I have written in the past about the importance of fostering the careers of young doctors who have chosen ID as a subspecialty. The IDSA Board of Directors has made the recruitment and retention of young doctors to ID a top Society priority, and to that end has created the Clinical Fellows Meeting and has partnered with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to create the Infectious Diseases Research Careers Meeting. I had the great pleasure to attend the third annual NIAID/IDSA ID Research Careers Meeting, held in Bethesda, Md., earlier this month alongside 69 ID fellows and MD/PhD students representing 65 unique programs from across the country.  

This exciting meeting began with a keynote address from NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD, FIDSA who was described by attendees as “an inspiration,” “a great icon,” and “an excellent example of what’s possible [in the field of research].” The program featured research presentations from eminent ID researchers and practical information on funding sources, and included career development panels covering topics such as grant-writing and publishing (even I learned a few things about grant writing strategy!), balancing work and personal life, finding and developing mentors, and the job search. Some of the sessions were held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus and included a wonderful tour of the NIH Clinical Center, led by IDSA Research Committee member and NIAID Director of the Division of Clinical Research H. Clifford Lane, MD, FIDSA. The program also included a spectacular poster session where over half of the attendees showcased their various research projects over dinner and interacted with their colleagues and faculty members.  

I have heard many positive comments from the fellows and students who made it a point to tell me their thoughts on how valuable this meeting was in terms of thinking about their future pathway, job opportunities, grant opportunities (and how to write a successful one), choosing mentors and collaborators, time management, and the all-important question of “can you really have a family?” The variety of fields and expertise represented by the speakers, ranging from prestigious academic institutions to public health service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to clinical research at NIH, cannot be replicated within a single institution. This meeting truly is a unique opportunity to help foster the next generation of ID physician scientists.

One of the most rewarding and encouraging comments shared was, “It was such a wonderful meeting that has helped me so much in thinking about my future pathway as a physician scientist. We get tidbits of information during our training to help direct our medical careers but this conference was really an invaluable experience.” There is much work ahead for us in encouraging young doctors into our field, but experiences such as this are truly inspirational.  

Editor’s Note: If you are interested in participating in this meeting next year, please contact Shion Chang at schang@idsociety.org.



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