Climbing the Ladder as a Physician Scientist

Membership in the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), the "Young Turks", puts the physician scientist in a national network of outstanding academic physicians. ASCI membership is regularly used as an index of national recognition of the status of an MD researcher. It is well known that ASCI membership can smooth one's route to promotion up the ranks, and in recruitment to division director and to chairperson. The membership list is often consulted for candidates for jobs in academia and on advisory committees, etc. The annual meeting of the ASCI provides a window on the best in physician scientist research. It is also the place to meet one's peers - people who understand the hybrid form of the physician scientist. Each year about 80 new members can be elected.

What are the criteria for membership?

Quality and impact of your science, and a clear demonstration that the applicant has been independent from mentors in conducting the science are the critical determinants. The nominee can not be older than 45 in the year of election and can not be nominated more than three times.

How do you become a member?

A nomination form will be available by contacting:
ASCI National Office
6900 Grove Road
Thorofare, New Jersey 08086-9447
Phone: (609) 251-6976
Fax: (609) 848-5274

The nominating letter and seconding form must be submitted together. They must be submitted before December 1. The choice of nominators is very important. They have to be members of the ASCI (check the Web site) and qualified to evaluate your scientific contributions.

Who can support your nomination?

Although the names of nominees are circulated in January to all ASCI members who are invited to write in support of your nomination, at that point there is really one week for them to write letters before the deadline. Therefore it is preferable that you and your sponsor identify 2-6 members from the ASCI membership list who know you and your research and ask them to write in support of your election. (See the list of MSSM members.)

Your nominator's request for supporting letters should include your c.v., copies of the nomination forms, and "talking points." This follow-up is crucial to a successful venture. Members are typically in Departments of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, but there are plans afoot to include Pathology and Neuroscience.

There are 24 current members from Mount Sinai. They include George Atweh, Paul Berk, Barry Coller, Terry Davies, Robert Desnick, Scott Friedman, Valentin Fuster, Peter Harpel, Kurt Hirschhorn, Paul Klotman, Lawrence Krakoff, Lloyd Mayer, Milton Mendlowitz, Arthur Rubenstein, Frederick Suchy, and Samuel Waxman.

Of the other NYC med schools, Cornell has 48 members, Columbia 46, Albert Einstein 35, NYU 21 and SUNY Downstate 8.

Who elects you?

Election occurs at a meeting of the ASCI council in February in a manner similar to a study section. Presentation of each nominee is assigned to two council members with expertise in your field who use the information in the nominating and supporting letters to argue for your election.

What are you waiting for?

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