Creating a Cadre of Fellowship-Trained Medical Educators, Part II: A Formal Needs Assessment to Structure Postgraduate Fellowships in Medical Education Scholarship and Leadership

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Abstract

Purpose

Education leaders at the 2012 Academic Emergency Medicine Consensus Conference on education research proposed that dedicated postgraduate education scholarship fellowships (ESFs) might provide an effective model for developing future faculty as scholars. A formal needs assessment was performed to understand the training gap and inform the development of ESFs.

Method

A mixed-methods needs assessment was conducted of four emergency medicine national stakeholder groups in 2013: department chairs; faculty education/research leaders; existing education fellowship directors; and current education fellows/graduates. Descriptive statistics were reported for quantitative data. Qualitative data from semistructured interviews and free-text responses were analyzed using a thematic approach.

Results

Participants were 11/15 (73%) education fellowship directors, 13/20 (65%) fellows/graduates, 106/239 (44%) faculty education/research leaders, and a convenience sample of 26 department chairs. Department chairs expected new education faculty to design didactics (85%) and teach clinically (96%). Faculty education/research leaders thought new faculty were inadequately prepared for job tasks (83.7%) and that ESFs would improve the overall quality of education research (91.1%). Fellowship directors noted that ESFs provide skills, mentorship, and protected time for graduates to become productive academicians. Current fellows/graduates reported pursing an ESF to develop skills in teaching and research methodology.

Conclusions

Stakeholder groups uniformly perceived a need for training in education theory, clinical teaching, and education research. These findings support dedicated, deliberate training in these areas. Establishment of a structure for scholarly pursuits prior to assuming a full-time position will effectively prepare new faculty. These findings may inform the development, implementation, and curricula of ESFs.

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