Keeping clinicians in research The Clinical Research Reproductive Scientist Training Program CREST strategy 2006 2012

Rebecca S. Usadi, M.D., Ruben Alvero, M.D., Alicia Y. Armstrong, M.D., M.H.S.C.R., Robert W. Rebar, M.D., Alan H. DeCherney, M.D., Yvonne T. Maddox, Ph.D.

Volume 102, Issue 6, Pages 1542–1544


Combining clinical practice with clinical research has been, and continues to be, a major challenge (1). Although the need for translational and clinical research has increased, the resources and the percent of physicians with federal funding for research have diminished. In 1998, 36.1% of M.D.-only physicians who applied for National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants were awarded funding, compared with 26.3% in 2011 (2). The competition for research grants is due partly to shrinking research dollars and partly to the increase in grant applications by Ph.D.s.

  • Jason Kovac

    Could using publications as a marker of success be misleading? How do you know these publications were not started prior to the “investigators” completing the CREST program? Perhaps a better indicator may be how many publications came about as a collaboration between CREST scholars. Are these scholars acting together to advance the field? Perhaps that could also be a separate goal… to create a network of researchers that would actively collaborate together. As an aside… how many of the CREST participants were employed in private practice? Lastly… I support Dr. Ramasamy for the CREST fellowship when he applies next year !

    • Rebecca Usadi

      There are different ways of examining research productivity of CREST scholars. It is understood that many research projects take longer than one year but in no way was this meant to be misleading. It was simply one way of looking at productivity. Published papers listed in PUBMED are one quantifiable measure of research activity. In the review, the collaborations among CREST scholar were described. This included a joint publication in 2006 by the first CREST group and later collaboration with RMN. To date, there are 19 publications that have involved collaborations between CREST scholars or between CREST scholars and RMN members. There has always been interest in increasing the collaborative research efforts among CREST scholars. Like all research, this is limited by available funding. Other measures of productivity include participation in NIH supported networks. In addition to the CREST ancillary sites mentioned in the article, one CREST a scholar is now a full PI in the current RMN , another is active in the Contraceptive Clinical Trialsl Network and a third is a recipient of a Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23) . Lastly, nine CREST scholars are currently in private practice. One scholar who was in private practice during her participation in CREST is now in academics. Thank you for your remarks and support of the program!

      • Jason Kovac

        absolutely… a great initiative and nice to see it paying dividends.

  • ranjithrama

    The CREST initiative by ASRM and NIH is a great effort. I would love for it to be opened to fellows in addition to clinicians in practice. It is important to encourage trainees early in our careers so we remain interested in both clinical and translational research. As a matter of disclosure, I applied for the CREST program and was informed that I was not eligible since I was still a fellow 🙁

    • Rebecca Usadi

      Thank you for your comments and interest in CREST. Currently, one of the criteria for application for a fellow is completion of fellowship training and to be engaged in clinical practice prior to the start of the program. As you know, fellowship training involves coursework in statistics, epidemiology or study design so there is already opportunity during that time for both hands-on research experience and didactic learning in clinical research methodology. I encourage you to reapply following fellowship!

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