The Careers in Medicine Club

Only a small percentage of the people who earn PhDs in biomedical research move into tenured and tenure-track positions in academia. Yet, the training of biomedical science graduate students is often still exclusively designed for academic employment.

According to the report of the National Institutes of Health’s Workforce Working Group in June 2012, just 26% of PhDs in biomedical research move into tenured and tenure-track positions in academia. The numbers are dropping. However, the training of biomedical science graduate students is often still exclusively designed for academic employment. This gap is being addressed many ways including increased funding by the NIH and NSF for non-academic career development interventions.

Medical students are seeing things a different way, too:

1. Many come from backgrounds in design or engineering or other disciplines that they want to apply to medicine and improving the system.

2. They don't see themselves practicing clinical medicine for their entire careers and are demanding career alternatives.

3. They come from more advance entrepreneurial ecosystems and feel isolated in their new locations.

4. Many have experience with startups before attending medical school.

5. They understand the demands of medical school, but want some flexibility or accommodation when it comes to pursuing other biomedical entrepreneurial interests.

6. They want to change the Sick Care system through the deployment of innovation.

As a result, medical schools are going to have to do a better job of meeting the market demand or they will find themselves lagging further behind and losing the war for talent. In the meantime, medical students are taking things into their own hands and creating Alternatives in Medicine Clubs. They provide:

1. Interaction with other innovation stakeholders in the community

2. Mentors to help with individual career development plans

3. Education about non-clinical alternative careers

4. Experiential learning opportunities

5. Networking

6. Courses, seminars, and workshops on bioinnovation and entrepreneurship

7. Peer support and guidance, particularly for those who feel threatened or marginalized when they express their interest in bioentrepreneurship

8. Bootcamps

9. Interdisciplinary introductions to facilitate collaboration

10. Resources to help build and sustain the clubs and make students aware of where they can go to learn more and get involved.

Medical students, like graduate bioscience students, won't sit idly by while faculty and administrators fail to meet their needs. They will find a way to create their futures despite the system and there is a small, but growing, number of others willing to help.