About the Program
Affecting the health of America’s population requires new, evidence-based strategies that will improve the quality of health services. Physician-scientists historically have made substantial contributions to this national effort. For young physician-scientists, a critical period in their academic careers comes after they have completed their clinical fellowship training and taken their first faculty position. They are expected to teach, provide patient care and conduct independent research. This period is particularly challenging for junior faculty who are interested in health policy, epidemiology, health services or community-based research—fields in which few career development programs exist.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Physician Faculty Scholars program addresses this gap by providing junior faculty with mentoring, protected time, networking and the opportunity to gain valuable research experience. The program produces academic leaders who are creative and well-positioned to improve the nation’s health care.
This program is part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Human Capital Portfolio, which seeks to attract, develop and retain a high-quality health and health care workforce, with an emphasis on diversity and leadership development.
From 2006 through 2009, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Physician Faculty Scholars program selected a total of 60 junior faculty as Scholars in the program, representing the Classes of 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Three-year awards of up to $300,000 each were made to help these outstanding junior faculty in medical schools to develop their careers in academic medicine. Physicians selected are called RWJF Physician Faculty Scholars (PFS). In addition, 5 physicians were selected as Veterans Affairs (VA) Faculty Scholars in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Physician Faculty Scholars Program, as part of the Class of 2012.
These talented junior faculty were nominated by their medical schools or VA medical centers and selected by the program to receive support to enhance their skills and productivity through institutional and national mentoring, specific research experience and protected time in which to acquire it. For Physician Faculty Scholars (PFS), RWJF made grants to sponsoring institutions to help cover the scholars’ salary and research costs. VA Faculty Scholars are funded as part of their VA HSR&D Career Development awards. Each sponsoring institution agreed to protect 50 percent of each scholar’s time from clinical and teaching responsibilities to spend on the scholarly activities outlined in the scholar’s proposal. Each institution also identified at least one mentor who advised the scholar on his or her research project, provided career development guidance, and attended one annual national meeting with the scholar.
All scholars interact with the medical leaders who serve on the program’s national advisory committee (NAC). The program assigned to each scholar a NAC mentor, who discussed project management and career development with him or her at the program’s annual meeting and throughout the year. NAC mentors may offer additional assistance, such as reviewing and critiquing manuscripts and grant proposals and writing letters of recommendation.
All scholars attend the program’s annual meeting, where they present their ongoing research and take part in a broad array of discussions relevant to the program’s focus. They must also attend one additional scientific meeting of their choosing annually.
Since 2009, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Physician Faculty Scholars program has been closed to new applications. Effective November 30th, 2012, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Physician Faculty Scholars program completed its sixth and final year.