Objective: To analyze ophthalmologists who are National Institutes of Health (NIH) K grant awardees to characterize clinician-scientists in ophthalmology. Design: Cohort study. Participants: Ophthalmologists who have received a K award from 1996 through 2010. Methods: K08 and K23 grant awardees were identified through the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporter database. Information including gender, institution, educational degrees, and success in obtaining an R01 grant was analyzed. Main Outcome Measures: Receipt of an R01 grant. Results: One hundred five ophthalmologists were identified who received K08 or K23 grants from the National Eye Institute from 1996 through 2010. Overall, 75% of these were male, although 43% of K awardees were women from 2006 through 2010. Sixty-five percent (68/105) of individuals came from ophthalmology departments that ranked in the top 20 of NIH funding in 2010. The most predominant subspecialties represented were retina (32%), cornea (22%), and glaucoma (15%). Among the K awardees, 40% (42/105) had a doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree in addition to their medical doctor degree. From 1996 through 2000, 61% (23/38) were successful in obtaining an R01 grant, whereas only 13% (5/39) from 2001 through 2005 obtained R01 grants (P<0.001). Conclusions: Gender disparities exist among K awardees in ophthalmology, but these seem to be improving over time. None of the other variables studied - gender, PhD degree, specialty, or funding tier - was associated with obtaining R01 funding. This study helps to characterize the clinician-scientist cohort in ophthalmology and to identify areas to improve the recruitment of these individuals. Financial Disclosure(s): The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.
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