Lessons Learned: Career Challenges in Training the Next Generation of Interdisciplinary Health Scientists

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Interdisciplinary science, defined by the National Academies as “a mode of research by teams of individuals that integrates information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, concepts, and/or theories from two or more disciplines . . . to advance fundamental understanding or to solve problems whose solutions are beyond the scope of a single discipline,” has come to the forefront as necessary to solve the complex social problems, such as obesity, violence, and addiction, facing our society today. Interdisciplinary training and research is a novel idea in theory, although execution is inconsistent. Because there are no structured curricula, professional training and development occur differently for every emerging scientist. My goal in writing this article is to continue the dialogue to improve the consistency and quality of interdisciplinary research and training for future cohorts of health scientists. The purpose of this article is to describe challenges I encountered, including short- and long-term practical approaches for career development from the perspective of an early career, interdisciplinary researcher.

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