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Innovative Education

Clinical Scholars Program Brings Us the Best and the Brightest

The Houston Methodist Academic Institute Clinical Scholars program recognizes the distinctive and critical role that physician-scientists play in advancing its core missions

The Houston Methodist Academic Institute recognizes the distinctive and critical role that physician-scientists play in advancing its core missions as an academic medical center. These core missions include: 1) delivering integrated and high-quality patient care; 2) educating the next generation of health-care providers and providers-in-training; and 3) performing basic, translational and clinical research to expand our understanding of human disease and to create new tools for improved health. The Clinical Scholars program meets that need by helping to grow our cadre of rising physician-scientists. To strengthen our ability to both perform top-tier research and deliver the high-quality patient care that Houston Methodist is known for, we must bring the best to our organization. The Clinical Scholars program allows us to draw from among the most talented young physician-scientists around the world with the offer of protected time for scientific endeavors and the ability to grow their clinical skills. Our Clinical Scholars are exceptionally talented, early-stage investigators with an MD, MD/PhD, PhD, or equivalent degree who are educated and trained in both clinical practice and scientific investigation, who have a track record of commitment to and excellence in research during graduate and post-graduate endeavors and who wish to devote substantial portions of their careers to both clinic and research in their new position with Houston Methodist. Candidates submit applications and must be nominated by clinical department chairs as well as a Houston Methodist Research Institute department chair or senior member.
Since its inception, our Clinical Scholars have received more than $8 million in extramural funding and have accomplished
82 publications
9 chapters
33 abstracts
57 presentations
The program offers well-rounded support as well as the flexibility to select an area of pursuit. Clinical Scholars can choose from one of three paths:
  • Clinician Scientists: Award recipients receive $250,000 per year and dedicate at least 50% of their time to translational research (awardees must pursue extramural funding support);
  • Clinician Trialists: Award recipients receive $100,000 per year and dedicate at least 20% of their time to clinical trials (awardees must pursue extramural funding support); or
  • Clinician Educators: Award recipients receive $100,000 per year and commit at least 20% of their time to educational activities (awardees must conduct educational research and/or participate in clinical education training programs)
The candidates are expected to demonstrate a commitment to pursuing research in alignment with at least one of Houston Methodist’s strategic areas of excellence — such as the academic pillars of the Houston Methodist Vision for the Second Century (Clinical Research; Innovative Education; Restorative Medicine; Outcomes Research; or Precision Medicine) — and to propose an appropriate budget. Clinical Scholars will hold dual appointments, as an active clinician in one of the Houston Methodist clinical departments and as a member of the Houston Methodist Research Institute. Candidates are assessed based on several criteria:
  • The candidates’ previous accomplishments and recommendation letters
  • The quality of the proposed projects
  • The quality of the career development plans as judged by progressive development as well as the protected time guarantee from the department chairs
  • The appropriateness and presumed availability of the candidates’ mentors
Clinical Scholars are eligible for three years of funding support with annual progress reviews (Clinician Scientists who demonstrate substantial progress and potential for sustaining an independent, sponsored research program will be considered for an additional one or two years of support). One of the goals of the program is to provide guidance that helps participants successfully secure extramural grant support. Clinical Scholars will identify at least one mentor from Houston Methodist for the duration of the funding period. The scholars’ mentors are not just for show; they are intended to have a strong impact on the scholars throughout the program and beyond, for example, helping them enact strong individual development plans that will see them well into the future. Such plans will include self-assessment mechanisms to review skills, values and interests; strong, relevant goals for the next five to 10 years; and guidance that will help the scholars improve skills, build a career network and gain experience to prepare for future success. The mentors must have a full-member Houston Methodist Research Institute appointment. They also must have an extramurally funded research program to mentor a Clinician Scientist, be a clinical trialist to mentor a Clinician Trialist, or be a residency or fellowship program director or clerkship director to mentor a Clinician Educator. Since its inception, our Clinical Scholars have received more than $8 million in extramural funding and have accomplished 82 publications, 9 chapters, 33 abstracts and 57 presentations. To date, 25 Clinical Scholars have been brought on board.
Luanne Jorewicz, July 2022
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