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CCRC Symposium

Combining Clinical and Research Careers (CCRC)

Course History

The Combining Clinical and Research Careers (CCRC) symposium was created in 2003 to meet the urgent need for more clinician scientists in the neurosciences. In 2014, the NIH Physician-Scientist Workforce Working Group reported that number of physician-scientists funded with NIH “R” grants has remained flat for the past 20 years. With the substantial growth in the numbers of PhD investigators, physicians now represent only ~30% of NIH awardees. Alarmingly, only ~1.5% of physicians in the US (14,000) consider research a focus of their activity, and only slightly more than half of these are principal investigators with NIH grants. The executive committee of the national MD/PhD training programs recently commented on this report, raising the additional alarm that current demographics, including many physician-scientists nearing retirement, minimal diversity, and challenges with career progression all portend a growing crisis with the physician-scientist shortfall. Clearly, additional efforts are needed to enhance recruitment and retention efforts for physician-scientists. The CCRC symposium combats these pernicious trends for promising medical students with research experience interested in careers in the clinical neurosciences.  Graduates of the program learn about the exciting future opportunities and many pathways to success as they are recruited to enter the workforce as clinician-scientists in the neurosciences.

Program Funding

This course is sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), Association of University Professors of Neurology (AUPN), American Neurological Association (ANA), American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and Child Neurology Society (CNS).


The Combining Clinical and Research Careers in Neuroscience Symposium is held each year in Washington, DC. 

Student Cost

Program funding will cover each student's hotel stay, coach travel expenses, transportation in DC (to/from the airport and the hotel), and meals during the symposium. If driving, non-valet parking and automobile mileage will be reimbursable. Each student typically has their own room unless otherwise requested. Program funding does not cover travel expenses to/from the student's home and the airport or meals other than those provided during the symposium.

The Course

Based on the very enthusiastic survey responses of past participants we plan to continue with the many successful elements of the program, including a networking lunch, social events, small group mentoring, and a number of sessions relevant to a physician-scientist’s career. An outstanding group of academic neurologists will discuss strategies for combining research and clinical activities from personal perspectives. Representatives from NINDS will present the many options that exist for continued research training, career development, research support, and repayment of academic debt. Most importantly, the students have ample time to interact with the faculty in small group discussions that supplement the formal presentations.

Course Faculty

Course faculty each year have been outstanding, almost always receiving top evaluations from the students. The faculty are selected after broad nomination from the neurology chairs across the country, highlighting young, enthusiastic, articulate, and inspiring role models. Those faculty who have benefited from NIH training awards including R25, K awards, and sometimes a first R grant are targeted. As with the student selection, we aim for a diversity in the faculty as well. 

Course Goals

The goals of the symposium are to:

  1. encourage medical students with research experience (single degree MD students) and those with some formal research training (MD/PhD; MD/MPH) to pursue further research along with their clinical training
  2. describe and discuss strategies for successfully melding clinical and research careers including navigating residencies, fellowship and transitions to faculty status, along with mechanisms available for obtaining long term training and research support
  3. connect the students with each other and faculty mentors representing a spectrum of stages of career development, training paths, and clinical neuroscience specialties so that they can explore potential paths for their own careers and develop in informal network for ongoing support
  4. monitor outcomes including the career trajectories of past course participants.


Short term outcomes. At the conclusion of this program, the desired outcome is that attendees are better informed about the rewards and challenges of a combined clinical and research career. We intend that they will have acquired strategies for succeeding as both scientists and clinicians, and that they will have had an opportunity to interact with NIH officers to better understand programs designed to promote early stage research careers, and that informal discussion with academic leaders in neurology will convince them of the great need for clinician-scientists (i.e., many job opportunities).

Qualifications to Apply

We invite students who are candidates for combined research and clinical careers in the neurosciences, i.e., future clinician-scientists, to apply to attend this meeting. The ideal candidate is 1-2 years away from graduating,  has research experience either in an MD-PhD program or other documented, meaningful research (typically 1+ year), and has an interest in a residency in a clinical neuroscience discipline (neurology, child neurology, neurosurgery, neurorehabilitation, etc.) MD/PhD students and MDs with significant research training, women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. 

What Past Participants Are Saying

"I thought it was an incredibly efficient, yet amazingly informative meeting; the knowledge/insight acquired from those who have "been there" and "done that" will remain invaluable to me, and the contacts and friendships formed will hopeful assist me in my future endeavors."

"This program provided an invaluable opportunity to network with both established faculty and administrators as well as students in our own peer group. I believe such opportunities are only possible in an intimate, face-to-face setting such as this one."

"The entire program was great. The career information and networking with mentors and students were the most useful parts. It confirmed my desire to pursue a neurology residency."

"Throughout my training I believe I sort of lost sight of why I wanted to do MD/PhD to begin with, but this conference helped remind me of what my original goals were and now I have a much clearer picture of how exactly I can achieve those goals. I felt lost and w/out a path before, but now I have direction and with that sense of direction my passion has also grown stronger."

"Thank you so much for the opportunity to attend. It was a great experience and a great confidence booster and made me feel better about the uncertainties that I have felt about combining medicine and research. I will highly recommend the meeting to other students on my program."

"This is by far the best course/meeting on career advice that I've received in my MD-PhD training."


Please contact Tracey White at with any questions or if you would like to be added to the notification list for the upcoming course. 

Previous course agendas