The Patient-Oriented Clinician-Researcher: Advantages and Challenges of Being a Double Agent

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The number of clinically trained individuals who perform research is declining. Although it is often observed that the clinician-researcher is necessary, the reasons are rarely discussed. In this article, the authors critically consider the complexities of the role of the patient-oriented clinician-researcher at the interface of behavioral health treatment and research. The authors note that patient-oriented clinician-researchers can serve as effective “bridgers” between the research and practice communities and can facilitate both the development of clinically relevant research and the dissemination of evidence-based treatments into routine clinical services. However, care needs to be taken to address the potential for ethical and role conflicts. Programs can encourage trainees to become clinician-researchers by providing opportunities for them to meet with patient-oriented clinician-researchers and by including coursework that raises their awareness of ethical and role conflicts and provides them with the skills needed to be effective “bridgers.”

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