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Research Letter
March 2018

Name and Characteristics of National Institutes of Health R01-Funded Pediatric Physician-Scientists: Hope and Challenges for the Vanishing Pediatric Physician-Scientists

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • 3Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • 4Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida, Gainesville
  • 5Department of Pathology, Immunology, and Laboratory Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville
JAMA Pediatr. 2018;172(3):297-299. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.4947

Physician-scientists in general, and pediatric physician-scientists in particular, are vanishing.1-3 Rates of National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards to pediatric departments have declined from 23.8% to 16.8% during the past 10 years.4 Being granted an NIH independent investigator award (R01) is not only a means to support a physician-scientist’s research but also is a commonly required milestone for promotion. Details of R01-funded pediatric physician-scientists, including the number of R01 awards granted, individuals who are awarded an R01, and their institutions, subspecialties, academic rank, leadership status, and sex, are unknown.

The NIH Reporter (https://projectreporter.nih.gov/reporter.cfm) was accessed on May 17, 2017, using the following search criteria: (1) department type (“Pediatrics”), (2) fiscal years 2012 to 2017, and (3) activity code “R01 Equivalents” (DP2, R01, R23, R29, R37, and RF1). Because some institutions with NIH-funded investigators may not identify with a “Department of Pediatrics,” we added an additional search using “Children’s Hospital” in the “organization” search field with “contains” as the qualifier. Duplications, administrative supplements, and yearly renewals for the same award were removed while competitive renewals were included. Individual awardees were identified (individuals with more than 1 award were represented only once) and their pediatric division, sex, terminal degree, current academic rank, and administrative status as division chief, department chair, or dean was determined using an internet search.