15 VP&S Physician-Scientists Receive Early-Career Funding to Support Research

Fifteen VP&S early-career physician-scientists who have substantial family caregiving responsibilities have been recognized as VP&S Promising Clinician Scientists and awarded grants from the Office of Academic Affairs to support their research.

The awards—up to $50,000 for 18 months for each physician-scientist—are designed to help the faculty maintain research productivity in the face of caregiving responsibilities for children or elders that increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds may be spent on part-time administrative help, lab personnel, or research services.

The awards are made possible largely by a grant awarded last year to the Office of Academic Affairs from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in concert with the American Heart Association. The funding awarded $12.1 million to VP&S and 21 other U.S. medical schools to support early-career faculty whose productivity was adversely impacted by extra caregiving demands brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The VP&S Office of Research and the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center provided funding for additional support.

“The past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have shown clearly that caregiving can profoundly impact career development,” says Anne L. Taylor, MD, VP&S vice dean for academic affairs. “This is a particularly devastating situation for physician-scientists, who must manage demands from clinical practice and also sustain a competitive and meaningful research program funded by external agencies with inflexible time limits.”

Family caregiving is one of the most significant differences between women and men in academic medicine, and the negative consequences to women’s academic career development have been well documented. Yet the difference remains a mostly unaddressed cause for inequity between men and women in medicine.

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation grants support a variety of programs that will help medical schools identify which actions are most effective to accomplish necessary change.

“The time has come for institutions to think creatively about how to alleviate the crushing burden that caregiving responsibilities place on many young faculty,” Taylor says.


More information

Anne L. Taylor, MD, is the PI of the grant and the John Lindenbaum Professor of Medicine at CUMC within the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. She also is vice dean for academic affairs at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and senior vice president for faculty affairs and career development at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Nancy S. Green, MD, is the co-PI of the grant, professor of pediatrics at CUMC, and associate dean for academic advancement and operations in the office of academic affairs.

Clara Lapiner, MPH, is the administrative manager for the grant and assistant vice president for faculty development, diversity, and inclusion.