An Academic Research Coach: An Innovative Approach to Increasing Scholarly Productivity in Medicine

J Hosp Med. 2019 Aug 1;14(8):457-461. doi: 10.12788/jhm.3194. Epub 2019 Apr 8.


Background: Academic faculty who devote most of their time to clinical work often struggle to engage in meaningful scholarly work. They may be disadvantaged by limited research training and limited time. Simply providing senior mentors and biostatistical support has limited effectiveness.

Objective: We aimed to increase productivity in scholarly work of hospitalists and internal medicine physicians by integrating an Academic Research Coach into a robust faculty development program.

Design: This was a pre-post quality improvement evaluation.

Setting: This was conducted at the University of Washington in faculty across three academic-affiliated hospitals and 10 academic-affiliated clinics.

Participants: Participants were hospitalists and internists on faculty in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Washington.

Intervention: The coach was a 0.50 full time equivalent health services researcher with strong research methods, project implementation, and interpersonal skills. The coach consulted on research, quality improvement, and other scholarship.

Measurements: We assessed the number of faculty supported, types of services provided, and numbers of grants, papers, and abstracts submitted and accepted.

Results: The coach consulted with 49 general internal medicine faculty including 30 hospitalists who conducted 63 projects. The coach supported 13 publications, 11 abstracts, four grant submissions, and seven manuscript reviews. Forty-eight faculty in other departments benefited as co-authors.

Conclusion: Employing a dedicated health services researcher as part of a faculty development program is an effective way to engage clinically oriented faculty in meaningful scholarship. Key aspects of the program included an accessible and knowledgeable coach and an ongoing marketing strategy.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Efficiency*
  • Faculty, Medical*
  • Health Services Research / standards*
  • Hospitalists
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine
  • Mentors*
  • Quality Improvement
  • Research Design
  • Scholarly Communication*
  • Staff Development*