Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

Enhance funding for population and public health research

Many challenges posted here focus on increasing translation and development of interdisciplinary teams. Diverse backgrounds and epidemiological training makes population and public health scientists ideal candidates to connect teams in different areas of research around translation to human health. While funding exists specifically for career development of physician and pre-clinical scientists, none exists for epidemiologists. Epidemiologists generally spend 100% of their efforts working on research in human populations with clear implications for clinical practice and guidelines, but have little opportunity for outside funding if their focus is public health prevention.

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Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

NHLBI is currently investing heavily in training epidemiologists at the PhD and postdoctoral level, but may be losing those researchers during the transition to independence and mid-career stages. Compared to those with clinical backgrounds or basic science skills, PhD epidemiologists rarely have alternative resources to fall back on when NIH funding is reduced and may have less interest in joining industry if their primary research interest is improving public health at the population level. This may make epidemiologists particularly vulnerable to leaving the field of health research. Dedicated funding that prioritizes human studies and population level research would help retain well-trained epidemiologists whose primary dedication is to improving chronic disease outcomes.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

While the current level of funding is a challenge to everyone working in science right now, adding funding mechanisms specifically for epidemiology like those that already exist for clinician scientists and pre-clinical research could play an essential role in maintaining the pace of innovation and implementation of research.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Morgana Mongraw-Chaffin

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Idea No. 643