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Issues in Developing the Medical Scientist, Part 3: Evaluation of Scientific Achievement (Essay by and Interview with Marcus M. Reidenberg, MD)


The American Federation for Medical Research continues its series of articles that address the challenges faced by academic medical centers and other institutions in developing medical scientists. The overall goal of this series is to assist leaders at academic medical centers in addressing the challenges for training the next generation of health care investigators. In addition, we hope to educate junior investigators and trainees on the many issues that their facilitators and mentors face in developing adequate programs for training and career development.

Our third part in this series will be of great value to junior investigators and trainees. It focuses on scientific achievement and how it is evaluated. Marcus M. Reidenberg, MD, of Weill Medical College of Cornell University, has prepared an essay outlining the evaluation of scientific achievement for medical scientists that offers invaluable, practical advice to junior physician-scientists. This essay is a revision of a letter he shared with junior faculty at Cornell outlining the criteria for election to honorific medical research societies. However, the issues touched on in the essay apply to additional issues, such as promotion and tenure, and to some extent to obtaining extramural funding for research activities. Following the essay, Dr. Reidenberg responds to some questions on this topic to assist junior investigators and their mentors in making career decisions.

Dr. Reidenberg is professor of pharmacology, medicine, and public health at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He has been at Cornell since 1975 and has served as assistant dean for several years. Over his 45-year research career, his primary research interest has been in the area of clinical pharmacology, focusing on reasons for individual differences in response to medications, such as renal function and aging. He is the author of 133 original research papers and almost 200 reviews and commentaries. He has written one book, Renal Function and Drug Action, and has edited seven books. Dr. Reidenberg has been a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Panel on Drug Evaluation since 1989, has served on several WHO expert committees and ad hoc committees on clinical pharmacology, and has served a term as president of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. He has been a member of numerous National Institutes of Health (NIH) and US Food and Drug Administration study and advisory panels, is a member of several honorific societies, and has been honored with the highest awards of several organizations. Clearly, Dr. Reidenberg is highly qualified to offer advice on scientific achievement and the development of a career as a medical scientist. The fact that this essay is a revision of a letter sent to Cornell faculty demonstrates his dedication to mentorship and career development. We are happy to have him share the wisdom of his many years of experience with us.

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