Developing clinical pharmacists' research skills and their ability to compete for extramural funding is an important component of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy's (ACCP) vision for pharmacists to play a prominent role in generating the new knowledge used to guide patient pharmacotherapy. Given the recent emphasis on clinical/translational research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the key role of drug therapy in the management of many diseases, there is an unprecedented opportunity for the profession to contribute to this enterprise. A crucial question facing the profession is whether we can generate enough appropriately trained scientists to take advantage of these opportunities to generate the new knowledge to advance drug therapy. Since the 2009 publication of the ACCP Research Affairs Committee editorial recommending the Ph.D. degree (as opposed to fellowship training) as the optimal method for preparing pharmacists as clinical/translational scientists, significant changes have occurred in the economic, professional, political, and research environments. As a result, the 2012 ACCP Research Affairs Committee was charged with reexamining the college's position on training clinical pharmacy scientists in the context of these substantial environmental changes. In this commentary, the potential impact of these changes on opportunities for pharmacists in clinical/translational research are discussed as are strategies for ACCP, colleges of pharmacy, and the profession to increase the number and impact of clinical pharmacy scientists. Failure of our profession to take advantage of these opportunities risks our ability to contribute substantively to the biomedical research enterprise and ultimately improve the pharmacotherapy of our patients.
- clinical pharmaceutical scientists
- clinical pharmacy
- graduate training
- research training