Research Training of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Fellows: A Survey of Fellowship Directors by Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Research Network

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Abstract

Objective:

To describe research training in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP) Fellowship Programs.

Methods:

Thirty-five US-accredited DBP fellowships were contacted through the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Research Network to complete an online survey on scholarly work and research training.

Results:

With an 83% response rate, responding programs represented 110 (87 filled) fellowship positions. External funding for fellowship positions was minimal (11 positions fully funded, 13 funded above 50% of cost). Structured research training included didactic lectures, web-based training, university courses, direct mentoring, journal clubs, and required reading. Of the 159 fellows described, spanning a 5-year training period, the majority chose projects relying on their own data collection (57%) rather than joining an existing research study and focused on clinical research (86%). Among 96 fellows with completed scholarly work, 29% were observational/epidemiological studies, 22% secondary analyses of large data sets, 16% community-based research, and 15% survey design. A limited number of fellows pursued basic science, meta-analysis/critical appraisal of the literature, or analysis of public policy. Barriers to successful fellow research are as follows: lack of time and money, challenges in balancing clinical demands and protected faculty research time, limited faculty research opportunities, time or expertise, and a lack of infrastructure for fellow research mentoring.

Conclusions:

The scholarly work of fellows in DBP fellowship programs has primarily focused on clinical research using observational/epidemiological research and secondary analysis of large data set. Barriers largely in faculty time and expertise for research mentoring and inadequate funding in programs that have high clinical demands and little resources for research efforts were noted.

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