[Excerpt] The scope and scale of clinical research is unknown for any medical or surgical specialty beyond snap shots of the broad aims and expenditures of research programs sponsored by federal agencies or the pharmaceutical industry. As a consequence, the workforce and workplace for clinical investigation is enigmatic and unexamined even after explicit warnings that an essential arm for advancing clinical practice is disabled. The present study was designed to examine the nature and extent of investigative activity prevailing among rheumatologists early in their careers. This assessment provides a lens on: i) the fraction of early career rheumatologists who engage in investigative rheumatology, ii) the scope and scale of research in musculoskeletal diseases, iii) funding available for investigative work, iv) the impact of "research-intensive" institutions, and NIH-K-series awards on research, and v) the demographic backgrounds of early career rheumatologists.
The results provide important new insights about the early career workforce for discovery and innovation in rheumatology. The findings integrate demographic, normative, and predictive data to provide the first estimate of the scope and scale of clinical investigation within rheumatology. The results also justify interventions for promoting investigative work, and ultimately advancing the clinical practice of rheumatology.