Richard Larson, MD, PhD
Richard Larson, MD, PhD, is executive vice chancellor and vice chancellor for research at the UNM Health Sciences Center.
Credit: John Arnold

For young physicians, the idea of building an academic medical career can seem a daunting task. But resources are available, UNM Health Sciences Center doctors told the participants of the Southwest Region Academic Medicine Career Development Conference.

A diverse academic faculty is critical to developing healthcare resources in New Mexico, according to Richard Larson, MD, PhD, HSC executive vice chancellor and vice chancellor for research.

“You are going to see we are different from many health sciences centers,” he said. “We have goal to improve health in our state and are taking responsibility for keeping health professionals here. You will see that our research investigators are committed to conducting basic and clinical research that will significantly impact the health of communities in New Mexico.”

Medical students and residents from across the Southwest attended the day and a half seminar, co-sponsored by the Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians Initiative (BNGAP). and the UNM Health Sciences Center. BNGAP’s mission is to help diverse medical students and residents become aware of academic medicine as a career option and to provide them with the resources to further explore and potentially embark on an academic medicine career.

Building an academic career can be challenging, Doug Clark, MD, chair of the UNM Department of Pathology, told the group.  It requires finding the time to fulfill both clinical duties as well as staying current in the fields of research and teaching, he said. 

“We can help you make the choices that will enhance your academic career, to find the best fit with your personal and professional interests,” said Valerie Romero-Leggott, MD, HSC vice chancellor for diversity.