Canadian Clinician Investigator Training in the 21st Century

C Thomas Appleton, Jillian Belrose, Michael R Ward, Fiona B Young

Abstract


Purpose: Enhancing clinician-investigator (CI) training at Canadian medical schools is urgently needed to bolster the dwindling work force of medical professionals carrying out patient-oriented research in a wide array of medical fields. The purpose of this study is to obtain, from the 15 Canadian medical schools that offer one or more CI training programs, data on the number of trainees, funding levels, attrition rates or other important metrics to evaluate the outcomes of such training efforts.

Methods: All Canadian CI programs were surveyed to collect demographic information for the academic year 2010-2011 and compared this to historical data collected by the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) and MD/PhD program funding data from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Results: Over the past decade, enrolment in Canadian CI training programs has increased approximately four-fold. Program-specific funding (CIHR) has also increased, but nearly 50% of MD/PhD trainees are still not supported through dedicated CIHR funding.

Conclusion: It is too early to know to what extent this increase in both CI and funding will sustain the workforce of Canadian researchers carrying out patient-oriented research. Monitoring of CI training demographics across Canada, beyond this baseline study, will be essential to measure outcomes from CI training programs and to guide response from funding bodies and policy-makers.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25011/cim.v36i4.19950

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