The clinician-scientist faces many career barriers that changes in medicine over the past two decades have accentuated. Political, socioeconomic, and cultural changes in medicine have increased financial pressures on physicians and hospitals, negatively impacting the ability of clinicians to pursue research activities. Examples of institutional barriers include pressure on physicians to increase clinical productivity to help offset rising costs and declining reimbursements, inadequate resources and structures to protect research time, a lack of consideration of the importance of spatial colocalization of interacting researchers and clinicians, insufficient focus on integrating clinician-scientists into research teams, and inadequate accessibility of administrative research infrastructure. Lack of mentorship and role models in orthopaedics also contributes to the barriers confronting the clinician-scientist. A number of steps could be taken by institutions to positively influence orthopaedic clinician-scientist career development. Creation of research teams in which orthopaedic clinician-scientists can collaborate effectively with other researchers is a critical step, as is providing protected time free of clinical responsibilities to be devoted to research. Increased attention to physical co-localization of the research activities of clinicians and scientists, and provision of research infrastructure at the department level are additional approaches that can be taken to ameliorate the institutional barriers to the orthopaedic clinician-scientist.

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