The Policy Committee leads APSA by making recommendations based upon feedback, collected surveys, and literature to the leadership and the board of directors as to the future directions of APSA. This committee is critical in ensuring that APSA addresses the current needs and issues of its membership. A second but equally important role this committee will play is making recommendations on behalf of APSA. They will work closely with other organizations with common interests by providing a voice to future physician-scientists.
The Policy Committee oversees many of APSA's advocacy efforts. These include national surveys, direct advocacy to government and institutional leaders, and dissemination of information about physician-scientist training to policymakers locally and nationally.
F30 Survey: Predoctoral Funding Advocacy
F30 fellowships are a significant source of funding for early-stage physician scientists who wish to pursue independent research projects that accentuate training and further scientific progress. F30 fellowship awards are granted by the National Research Service Award (NRSA), which has been established and supported through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). To date, only 10 of the 27 NIH institutes support this funding mechanism. APSA sees an urgent need to expand the NIH support for this program. In 2009, APSA created a national survey that aims to assess the need for expansion of the F30 fellowship awards. APSA is collecting data on awareness and availability of F30 awards, as well as its funding levels of support for applicants.
Tomorrow’s Physician Initiative
APSA is joining forces with the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) to instigate policy changes that are necessary to promote the vitality of all academic physician scientists. In 2011, a survey was piloted at 5 institutions (University of Illinois, Chicago, University of Chicago, Northwestern, University of Pennsylvania and Weill Cornell Medical College) to identify factors that are important to the career advancement of both men and women, and to gauge the ambitions of future physicians and physician-scientists. By identifying these factors, APSA and AMWA will be better able to advocate for critical changes that will help reduce the attrition of physicians in academic medicine. Results from this survey will facilitate the establishment of policy recommendations that will make academic medical careers more appealing to future generations of male and female physicians and physician-scientists. Thank you to our Institutional Coordinators for helping make this initiative a success!
Career Leadership Development
APSA’s Career Leadership Development project is an initiative that aims to identify common non-scientific training elements of MD/PhD programs across the United States. In particular, the survey targets MD/PhD program directors and aims to identify how different programs teach critical career development and leadership skills to their trainees. The goal of this project is to develop a collaborative resource with information on best practices to train future physician-scientists in areas of leadership and career development.
Diversity in Science & Medicine
The number of underrepresented minorities among medical school faculty members is significantly lower than predicted by their representation in the general population. There is no evidence that this will change in the near future. APSA is collaborating with the Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians (BNGAP) initiative and the Keystone Symposia initiative to better identify the unique challenges faced by minority physician scientists, and to develop measures that may help retention and career advancement.
USMLE Step 1/3 Time Limit
APSA is actively advocating for changes in the USMLE seven-year time limit that exists for physician scientists in some states. We are working towards the goal of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) eventually waiving the time limit for all physician scientist trainees regardless of their discipline.
Annual Meeting Policy Panel
Every year, physicians and physician scientists involved in clinical, translational, and basic science research confront challenges of inadequate resources: insufficient funding; malpractice liability; and mounting administrative burdens. Increasingly, physicians and physician scientists understand fully that involvement in the political process is a necessity, if progress is to be made in these areas.
The annual meeting is the highlight of the APSA calendar. The Policy Committee is developing a health- and research-policy session for the 2012 meeting that will provide physician scientists and trainees with information about:
- the importance of strong and consistent involvement of scientists, physician scientists, and medical professionals in the political sphere
- how to get involved in politics and advocacy
- how physician scientists have done so in the past
We look forward to hearing from physician scientists with a background in advocacy, law, government, or related disciplines. Hope to see you there!
Physician-Scientist-Friendly Residency Program Initiative
Early in development, this project aims to characterize physician-scientist friendly residency/fellowship programs. We wish to develop a resource targeted toward trainees applying to programs that features physician scientist friendly programs representing a wide variety of specialties. Additional updates will follow as the project questionnaire launches.
Fo further information on these initiatives, please don't hesitate to contact the APSA policy committee chairs.