Report of the 2018-2019 Research and Graduate Affairs Committee

Am J Pharm Educ. 2019 Dec;83(10):7595. doi: 10.5688/ajpe7595.


The 2018-2019 Research and Graduate Affairs Committee (RGAC) was charged with critically evaluating the leadership development support necessary for pharmacy researchers, including postdoctoral trainees, to develop the skills needed to build and sustain successful research programs and analyzing how well those needs are being met by existing programs both within AACP and at other organizations. The RGAC identified a set of skills that could reasonably be expected to provide the necessary foundation to successfully lead a research team and mapped these skills to the six domains of graduate education in the pharmaceutical sciences established by the 2016-2017 RGAC (Table 1). In addition, the RGAC identified competency in team science and the bench-to-bedside-to-beyond translational spectrum as being critical elements of research leadership. The universality of these skills and their value prompted the RGAC to make two related recommendations to AACP: [Table: see text] Recommendation 1: AACP should promote the development and use of strategies to ensure intentional and ongoing professional development, such as Individual Development Plans. Recommendation 2: AACP should explore collaborative research leadership development opportunities between faculty at research-intensive institutions and faculty at non-research-intensive institutions. The RGAC also examined programs available at AACP and other national organizations that could help pharmacy faculty develop foundational skills for research leadership (Table 2). The RGAC administered two surveys, one to administrators responsible for research at colleges and schools of pharmacy and one to faculty members at pharmacy schools, to gather information about training needs, programming and support available for research leadership development. Administrators and faculty agreed that research is important for career advancement for faculty, and almost all administrators reported their schools provide funds, release time and mentoring for participation in research career development. However, a lack of faculty awareness regarding programs and available support may be a barrier to participation. The RGAC therefore makes two recommendations and one suggestion related to AACP programming: [Table: see text] Recommendation 3: AACP should expand research leadership development opportunities building from existing programs such as ALFP and AACP Catalyst, with consideration placed on developing programs that promote collaborative research. Recommendation 4: AACP should collaborate with other professional organizations to expand research leadership development opportunities across the academy. Suggestion 1: Colleges and schools of pharmacy should take a proactive role in promoting and facilitating research leadership development for faculty. The RGAC separately examined the research leadership development needs of postdoctoral trainees, recognizing the distinct needs of trainees along the PhD or PhD/PharmD, PharmD/fellowship, and PharmD/residency paths. A review of organizational resources and opportunities for post-doctoral trainees available from national organizations, including AACP, was undertaken (Table 5). The RGAC sees an opportunity for AACP to foster research development of those trainees whose career track will likely be in clinical practice and makes one recommendation and one suggestion related to postdoctoral trainees: Recommendation 5: AACP should support and/or develop programs and activities for pharmacy residents seeking to transition into faculty positions to acquire the skills necessary to develop and lead research programs. Suggestion 2: Colleges and schools of pharmacy should include postdoctoral trainees with academic interests in research leadership development opportunities available to junior faculty. In addition, the RGAC proposed one policy statement that was adopted July 2019 by the AACP House of Delegates: Policy Statement: AACP recognizes the positive role that research leadership development can play in the success of early and mid-career faculty.

Keywords: Competencies; Early-Career Faculty; Mid-Career Faculty; Postdoctoral Trainee; Professional Development; Research Leadership; knowledge.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Education, Pharmacy, Graduate / organization & administration*
  • Faculty, Pharmacy / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Leadership
  • Pharmacy / organization & administration
  • Pharmacy Research / organization & administration*
  • Schools, Pharmacy / organization & administration*