Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs Principles of Lifelong Learning in Pediatric Medicine

JAMA Pediatr. 2016 Nov 1;170(11):1087-1092. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.2258.


Pediatric general and subspecialty care requires continuous effort to maintain knowledge and competencies in clinical practice. Equally important are efforts by investigators and educators to maintain knowledge and competencies in the conduct of research and training. The Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs initiated a survey in July 2015 to define principles of lifelong learning in pediatric medicine and determine the approaches and strategies used by chairs to assess knowledge and competence across the care, research, and teaching missions. A total of 101 of 142 chairs (71%) completed the survey. Six of 7 proposed principles were endorsed by 84% to 96% of Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs members. The focus areas included individual accountability, individually relevant activities, use of evidence-based guidelines/national standards, gaining cognitive expertise, learning as a continuous effort, affordability, and focus on individual understanding. The chairs endorsed a requirement for evidence of lifelong learning, competence, and compliance by all faculty members in clinical (n = 89 [88%]), research (n = 63 [62%]), and educational (n = 85 [84%]) practice. The survey identified the strategies to assess lifelong learning and faculty competence and compliance in clinical, research, and educational roles. Across missions, chairs endorsed an expectation for individual responsibility supplemented by formal evaluation practices and institutional and regulatory office oversight. While chairs endorsed an important role for the American Board of Pediatrics in assessing and verifying lifelong learning, knowledge, and competence in general and specialty certification, most (n = 91 [90%]) endorsed a need to revise current board requirements to better emphasize closing gaps in knowledge and using approaches that are evidence-based. This study provides the perspectives of pediatric department chairs on principles for lifelong learning and strategies and approaches used to assess faculty competence and commitment to lifelong learning across missions.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Competency-Based Education / standards*
  • Continuity of Patient Care / standards*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / standards*
  • Humans
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Physician's Role
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Specialty Boards / standards