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Abstract

Daunting obstacles to the development of careers in academic medicine represent the most important threat to the future of academic neurology. The Long Range Planning Committee of the American Neurological Association has for the past 2 years considered what practical methods might be undertaken to enhance the attractiveness of careers as neurologist investigators and to ensure that aspiring clinician-scientists are encouraged and retained. The deliberations have resulted in several recommendations. First, a plan has been developed to introduce flexibility during residency training in neurology. This will permit trainees who plan careers in academic medicine to have a substantial exposure to research during residency, shortening the subsequent transition to independent careers. Second, the American Neurological Association will create an annual course in clinical neuroscience research, to be held each summer for academically oriented residents. Improved mentoring and career guidance was identified as a third priority, addressed in part by the development of several new courses for trainees and mentors. Finally, planning is under way for a new postresidency training program in clinical research that will link small and large departments of neurology. Beyond these recommendations, the entire continuum of training for physician-scientists should be reexamined, from the first days of college to the successful launch as independent investigators. The development of additional demonstration projects to improve the quality and reduce the total length of training would be highly desirable. Ann Neurol 2006;60:278–285