ASN Establishes Workforce Committee to Help Address Crisis

Responding to concerns about the future of the nephrology workforce, the ASN is currently establishing a Workforce Committee. “A key goal of the ASN Strategic Plan is to advance patient care and research in kidney disease by strengthening the pipeline of clinicians, researchers, and educators,” explains ASN President Joseph V. Bonventre, MD, PhD, FASN.

The ASN Workforce Committee will help the society meet this goal by

  1. Implementing a strategy (based on the Final Report of the ASN Task Force on Increasing Interest in Nephrology Careers) to increase interest in nephrology careers, which includes promoting diversity within the nephrology workforce.

  2. Making recommendations to the ASN Council for using travel support to ASN educational activities for physicians and researchers training in the field of kidney disease.

  3. Making recommendations to the ASN Council for using the ASN Grants Program to support outstanding research and fostering career development.

  4. Identifying, prioritizing, and making recommendations or strategies to the ASN Council for increasing interest in nephrology careers, particularly among graduates of U.S. medical schools.

Creation of the workforce committee stems from recommendations by the ASN Task Force on Increasing Interest in Nephrology Careers (Table 5.1). The task force issued its final report at the ASN Summit on the Nephrology Workforce, which took place during Renal Week 2010 in Denver. To help implement the 41 recommendations outlined in its final report, the task force urged the ASN to establish a committee. The task force added that one ASN member should be designated “to serve as a czar or czarina for increasing interest in nephrology careers.” The chair of the ASN Workforce Committee would assume this important responsibility as well.

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In its report, the task force addressed a variety of topics besides the need for a workforce committee. According to the task force, increasing awareness about the crisis is a central concern. The task force suggested publishing articles about the current situation, producing an annual report about the state of the nephrology fellowship, engaging policymakers about this issue, developing a public awareness campaign about kidney disease, and using social media more effectively.

The task force also recommended adapting medical student and resident rotations to highlight specific aspects of nephrology, developing new teaching tools, and supporting faculty development to increase student interest in nephrology. The ASN was encouraged by the task force to create new awards for medical schools and residency programs to recognize initiatives in increasing interest in nephrology; to focus grants and travel support on students and residents; to expand opportunities at Kidney Week for students, residents, fellows, and educators; and to update the ASN website to correspond with the new initiatives.

When finalized later this spring, the ASN Workforce Committee will begin to implement the task force’s recommendations. To review the final report from the ASN Task Force on Increasing Interest in Nephrology Careers, please visit www.asn-online.org.

Notes

[1] Eveyln Shapiro is an ASN grants and development associate.