Message from Benjamin Humphreys, the incoming 2023–2024 President
The start of my Presidential year marks my sixth year on the Council; I am excited to draw from my experiences to advance the mission of the ASCI and engage our excellent community of physician-scientists. I’ve had the opportunity to work with an outstanding group of past Presidents. As Sohail transitions to Immediate Past President, I thank him for his efforts to carry on current initiatives and to drive new ones. His thoughtfulness and regard for the physician-scientist community were obvious to all of us on Council. Among the initiatives he led was a survey of our community, and I look forward to continuing to work with him on a fuller analysis and presentation of the results.
As I considered the year ahead and the impact I could make during my presidency, my focus turned to the early-career path. Since 2013, the ASCI has provided recognition of early-faculty physician-scientists through its Young Physician-Scientist Awards program, and in 2022 the ASCI began its Emerging-Generation Awards program to recognize those who are three years or more past earning their MDs, who show great promise in research, but who are not yet on faculty. Through the ASCI’s and AAP’s partnership with APSA, we help to support a large population of MD and MD-PhD students.
What about supporting the path even earlier? My institution (Washington University in St. Louis) offers a Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program, under the umbrella of the university’s Physician-Scientist Training Program, co-led by Tim Ley — a fierce advocate for physician-scientists and a past ASCI President (1997–1998). The impact this program has had on our community inspired me to consider the possibility of a similar ASCI-supported program. I brought the idea to the Council and received an enthusiastic reception. Other ASCI committees (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Physician-Scientist Development) gave valuable feedback and suggestions, and the Council ultimately approved the program. I look forward to sharing full details with the ASCI community and beyond very soon.
This new program, as with all other ASCI programs, entails a cost. Among my hopes for my presidency is to make the case to major donors and our friends in industry for the importance of supporting the physician-scientist path, particularly at this postbaccalaureate stage. Noting this, I’m grateful for contributions from all the members and others to support our Awards programs and the Society in general.
Finally, I’m incredibly appreciative of the time members have volunteered to the ASCI, whether through spreading the word about ASCI, participating in nominating activities, or service to committees and ad hoc roles. We truly could not do it without you.
Benjamin D. Humphreys, MD, PhD