Objective: Little is known about the impact of fellowship training in primary care on subsequent research productivity. Our goal was to identify characteristics of research fellows and their training associated with subsequent publications and research funding.
Design: Mail survey in 1998.
Setting and participants: 1988-1997 graduates of 25 National Research Service Award primary care research fellowships in the United States.
Outcome measures: 1) Publishing 1 or more papers per year since the beginning of fellowship, or 2) serving as principal investigator (PI) on a federal or non-federal grant.
Results: One hundred forty-six of two hundred fifteen program graduates (68%) completed the survey. The median age was 38 years, and 51% were male. Thirty-two percent had published 1 or more papers per year, and 44% were PIs. Male gender (odds ratio [OR], 3.6; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.4 to 9.2), self-reported allocation of 40% or more of fellowship time to research (OR, 4.4; 95% CI, 1.8 to 11.2), and having an influential mentor during fellowship (OR, 5.0; 95% CI, 1.5 to 17.2) were independently associated with publishing 1 or more papers per year. Fellows with funding as a PI were also more likely to have an influential mentor (OR, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.3 to 7.2).
Conclusion: Primary care fellows who had influential mentors were more productive in research early after fellowship. Awareness of the indicators of early research success can inform the policies of agencies that fund research training and the curricula of training programs themselves.