The NIH Loan Repayment Programs: Helping Researchers Stay in Research Through Educational Debt Repayment
Presenter: Jill I. Mattia, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist with over 20 years of experience in clinical research. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from The University of Connecticut and the State University of New York at Albany, respectively, and completed a clinical psychology internship at the Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute at the Medical College of Pennsylvania. She went on to a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Brown University Clinical Psychology Training Consortium and stayed on at Brown in the Medical School as an Assistant Professor. She came to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) six years ago in the Division of Scientific Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis at NIHMD and moved over to the Office of the NIH Director in the Office of Extramural Programs four years ago as a Scientific Program Evaluation Specialist. Her research background includes a Director of Research position at a private company, three NIMH grants in psychiatric assessment totaling approximately $1 million, and one NIH internal evaluation award for approximately $392,000. Her experience includes expertise in design and quantitative methods, comparative treatment outcome investigations, population surveys, diagnostic assessment, psychiatric nosological boundaries, and test construction. Overview: The NIH Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs) are a set of programs established by Congress and designed to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into biomedical or biobehavioral research careers. The escalating costs of advanced education and training in medicine and clinical specialties are forcing some scientists to abandon their research careers for higher-paying private industry or private practice careers. The LRPs counteract that financial pressure by repaying up to $35,000 annually of a researcher’s qualified educational debt in return for a commitment to engage in NIH mission-relevant research. Since tomorrow’s medical breakthroughs will be made by investigators starting in their research careers today, the LRPs represent an important investment by NIH in the future of health discovery and the wellbeing of the Nation. There are five LRPs for extramural researchers. Research funding from NIH is not required to participate in the extramural LRPs, and extramural LRP awardees may apply for subsequent, competitive renewal awards as long as they meet Program eligibility. Although organized around broad research areas, the LRPs were never intended to fund research projects. Rather, LRP awards are based on an applicant’s potential to build and sustain a research career.