Be Prepared: Developing the Next Generation of Endocrinologists
From my perspective, the younger members of the Endocrine Society represent the lifeblood of a vibrant Society, both now and in the future. The Society is highly committed to a comprehensive approach to enhance the career development of these individuals. Whether a student, fellow, or young endocrinologist starting a career in a full-time position, a wide range of programs and activities are specifically designed to meet important needs. The Society’s current career development programs have impacted young professionals at many levels. Beginning with a robust outreach program, the Society has been very successful at recruiting new trainee members, already increased to more than 3,100. A high priority goal of the Society is to provide a strong portfolio of programs aimed at creating a pipeline of young scientists working at the cutting edge of research and clinical practice.
The Society provides opportunities for exposure to endocrine science through research experiences and fellowships, networking opportunities, and skill training to those at the earliest stages in the endocrine career spectrum, including the undergraduate, early graduate, and medical student levels. At the next level, fellows who have demonstrated accomplishments in endocrine research receive intensive leadership and professional development support. Specifi cally, the Society conducts targeted workshops that focus on helping fellows better understand the business of research while providing hands-on grantsmanship training that will increase their success in transitioning into independent researchers.
An entire day is devoted to the specifi c needs of students and fellows on the day prior to the Annual Meeting during a program called the Early Career Forum. This is a workshop that highlights translational plenary lectures presented by internationally recognized investigators who are also outstanding communicators. Two tracks, one clinical and the other basic, provide interactive breakout sessions that focus on education and skills development. Th e day concludes with the Early Career Reception, an informal meeting place that welcomes all early attendees and recognizes ENDO abstract travel award winners.
During ENDO, several popular programs provide specifi c information and advice for trainees and early career attendees. For example, the Career Development Workshops off er relevant career advice to trainees and early career professionals on a wide range of topics. A record number of 11 workshops were held at ICE/ENDO 2014 featuring the lab and practice management workshops, the promotion and tenure workshop, and the evening grant-writing sessions: all very well received and attended. In addition, trainees are recognized for their early career accomplishments by having their posters identified for special consideration in the Presidential Poster Competition. A number of structured networking activities are designed to facilitate mentorship opportunities for early career members. Feedback each year from the attendees has fostered a spirit of continuous improvement.
All early career events are held in the Career Center, the hub of activity for young scientists wishing to attend the trainee oral competitions and other focused sessions, to connect with colleagues, or simply take a coffee break.
I would like to emphasize the many awards that are off ered to students, fellows, and early career professionals. In 2015, the Society’s early career awards will serve to recognize excellence in research, support participation in scientific education, and provide generous support for fellowships and research projects and career endeavors.
As you can see, there are many exciting opportunities within the Endocrine Society that promote the development of early career professionals while building a community where the next generation of endocrinologists will thrive. I’d like to congratulate the members of the Trainee and Career Development Core Committee and the Minority Affairs Committee for their outstanding efforts in creating programming that is supportive and nurturing for anyone focused on a career in endocrine science or medicine.
The Society is currently seeking to best understand the major challenges facing the next generation and considering ways to further enhance career development. You can rest assured that the Society will continue to be diligent in its efforts to develop outstanding early career programs and opportunities for trainees to learn, engage, and connect with professionals in the field.
Most importantly, your opinions and ideas are essential in helping us create quality programming, and I welcome you to submit any comments and suggestions to me at President@endocrine.org.
Richard J. Santen, MD
President, Endocrine Society