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Desmond Runyan

The end of an era of 45 years of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation support for our clinical scholars program is a transition to a new formulation and approach. Training of young clinicians in health services research, outcomes, and population health is not ending. Our final meeting in Philadelphia at the end of May emphasized all the areas that have been altered by the existence of this program and all of the people whose careers were shaped by the program. We were able to show how high the bar is set for our successors in the National Clinician Scholars Program and the breadth of the impact this program has had on health and health care. Our successors will need to work hard, as we need them to do, to sustain what has been started by 1,344 Scholars and their mentors and faculty. The early signs are really positive. The new National Clinicians Scholars Program is changing to include doctoral level nursing scholars. The new National Clinician Scholars have been part of our activities this year; their skills and interests reassure us older alums that there will be no drop off in talent, commitment, and innovation.   

Our National Program Office will be fading away in September. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is discussing the development of an alumni engagement office to connect with all of you and the alums of other RWJF programs. I hope more information about this new office will be available soon. However, do not fear. Two new alumni efforts are under way. First, you will be contacted by your colleagues as we are forming a new Clinical Scholars Program Alumni Association. Dr. SreyRam Kuy, with a group of 11 of your peers, have taken the steps of incorporating the alumni association and organizing its first meeting in conjunction with the fall National Clinician Scholars meeting in New Haven in November. Secondly, Jerry Mansfield from the Executive Nurse Fellows Alumni Organization and alums of the other RWJF human capital programs are building a larger organization of human capital alums to which the CSPAA will serve as our bridge. Thirdly, the Foundation’s new Clinical Scholars program, although with a differing focus on leadership training and teams addressing wicked problems, will be reaching out to Clinical Scholar alums for recruitment and mentors. Dr. Giselle Corbie Smith, a fellow faculty member at UNC and a member of our NAC who many of you know very well, is one of the directors of the new RWJF Clinical Scholars program. Finally, as you saw from the call for abstracts, the National Clinician Scholars Program will be embracing and engaging with our program alums as well. So, despite the end of the national program office in Chapel Hill, there will be no shortage of opportunities to stay engaged and connected. I urge all of us to stay committed and involved to foster the well-being of each of these programs and to keep efforts to improve health and health care moving forward. We have much to be proud of and our affiliation with this proud program will remain an important contributor to all of our careers and lives.

Des Runyan


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