Purpose: To examine associations between fellowship training and career outcomes among primary care physician-faculty.
Method: A total of 821 full-time primary care physician-faculty from 24 representative U.S. medical schools were surveyed using a self-administered questionnaire. Primary outcomes were recent grant submissions and funding, career referred publications, rank, and salary. Findings were adjusted for demographic and professional characteristics.
Results: Of the 500 respondents, 234 of the physician-faculty had completed a fellowship and 266 had not. Fellowship-trained physician-faculty were more than four times as likely to have submitted a grant proposal and to have had a grant funded (both p < 0.0001) than were physician-faculty without fellowship training. They were also more likely to have had any refereed publications (OR 3.8, p < 0.0001) and to have achieved senior academic rank (OR = 1.9, p = 0.02). Among those with fellowship experience, the amount of research training was important. Those with at least one year of research experience in their fellowship program had more grant proposal submissions (OR = 1.9, p = 0.02), more grants funded (OR = 2.9, p = 0.0003), more publications (OR = 2.4, p = 0.02), and higher academic ranks (OR 2.3, p = 0.03) than did those with less research training. Salaries were similar in every comparison.
Conclusion: Fellowship-trained primary care physician-faculty were more productive researchers and were more likely to have achieved senior academic rank than were their no-fellowship-trained peers. Even among physician-faculty with fellowship experience, more research training was associated with higher productivity and rank. Salaries were not affected by training experience.