Factors Associated With Success of Clinician–Researchers Receiving Career Development Awards From the National Institutes of Health: A Longitudinal Cohort Study

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Abstract

Purpose

Understanding the careers of recent career development awardees is essential to guide interventions to ensure gender equity and success in academic medicine.

Method

In 2010–2011 (T1) and 2014 (T2), 1,719 clinician–researchers who received new K08 and K23 awards in 2006–2009 were longitudinally surveyed. Multivariable analyses evaluated the influence of factors on success, including demographics, job characteristics, work environment, priorities, and domestic responsibilities.

Results

Of 1,275 respondents at T1, 1,066 (493 women; 573 men) responded at T2. Men and women differed in job characteristics, work environment, priorities, and domestic responsibilities. By T2, women had less funding (mean $780,000 vs. $1,120,000, P = .002) and published fewer papers (mean 33 vs. 45). Using a composite measure that considered funding, publications, or leadership to define success, 53.5% (264/493) of women and 67.0% (384/573) of men were successful. Gender differences in success persisted after accounting for other significant predictors—K award type, specialty, award year, work hours, funding institute tier, feeling responsible for participating in department/division administration, importance of publishing prolifically, feeling responsible for contributing to clinical care, importance of publishing high-quality research, collegiality of the mentoring relationship, adequacy of research equipment, and departmental climate. A significant interaction existed between K award type and gender; the gender difference in success was most pronounced among K23 researchers (among whom the odds ratio for females = 0.32).

Conclusions

Men and women continue to have different experiences and career outcomes, with important implications for the design of interventions to promote equity and success.

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