Dr. Rexford Ahima has been named the next director of the Physician Scientist Pathway in the Department of Medicine effective July 1, 2022.
The Physician Scientist Pathway (PSP) was created in 2016 to recruit, inspire, develop and retain physician scientists who will make scientific discoveries for the future of medicine. Residents in the Osler Medical Residency and Bayview Internal Medicine Residency Program are eligible to join the pathway to harness the vast pool of resources and gifted mentors available at Johns Hopkins to create opportunities for individual development. The PSP is part of the Pathways Program created in 2015 to give residents pursuing specialized careers early and meaningful exposure to unique coursework and hands-on experiences to develop them into the world-class leaders they aspire to become.
In a few years, the PSP has already achieved its goal of inspiring a new generation of clinical investigators with 20 aspiring physician scientists currently in the program. The pathway grows each year, largely due to the generous gifts from Dr. Mario Molina, chair of the Osler Advisory Board, and Dr. Nancy Grasmick, Maryland’s first female State Superintendent of Schools. Since 2018, the J. Mario Molina Physician Scientist Scholarship has funded 18 residents to pursue research projects during fellowship at Johns Hopkins. The Lou and Nancy Grasmick Schoarship, founded in 2019, has funded an additional four scholars from the PSP.
We must also credit the success of the PSP to its inaugural leadership team. Dr. Robert Brodsky, professor and director of the Division of Hematology and director of the PSP since its inception, played an integral role in the creation and expansion of the PSP alongside associate directors Drs. Rachel Damico and Ramana Sidhaye who will thankfully continue in their roles throughout this transition. Under their direction, the PSP Council was formed comprised of research faculty to help create an ecosystem in which trainees are meaningfully and continuously exposed to science and physician scientists. Dr. Brodsky also led collaborations with fellowship programs to longitudinally support PSP recruits and with intuitional leaders to build career opportunities. We are incredibly grateful for his leadership during this pivotal time, and we look forward to the future of the program under the direction of Dr. Rexford Ahima.
Dr. Ahima is Professor of Medicine, Public Health and Nursing, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Diabetes and director of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. He came to Johns Hopkins from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016, and has since been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, completed a four-year term as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Investigation and received a Strategically Focused Research Network grant from the American Heart Association to study obesity and cardiac complications of type 2 diabetes. He has proven to be a valuable leader both within the department and as leader of the Johns Hopkins Diabetes Initiative. Dr. Ahima’s skills in mentorship and research will serve him well in leading the Physician Scientist Pathway into the future.