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Vital Directions from the National Academy of Medicine
October 25, 2016

Training the Workforce for 21st-Century Science

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 2University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore
  • 3Sanofi, Paris, France
JAMA. 2016;316(16):1675-1676. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.12410

Continuing to address the challenges of human health is a major imperative facing society in the 21st century. Although prior scientific advances substantially contributed to improving the length and quality of life, many diseases still place a burden on individuals and society. Further progress will require an unprecedented convergence of biological, physical, and information sciences.

Over the last 100 years, the United States assumed a global position of unparalleled scientific achievement. The preeminence of the United States, however, is now being challenged by other countries. If the United States is to realize the promise of precision medicine and maintain its scientific leadership, the training of a new generation of scientists and engineers will need to become as innovative as the science that they are expected to deliver. This must be a high priority for the nation and means engaging challenges ranging from exposure to the best science in high school, to the length and expense of training for a scientific career—especially for underrepresented minorities—and on to the persistence of rigid disciplinary silos.