General internal medicine (GIM) fellowships play an important role in the development of physician scientists and clinical educators, as well as leaders in academic medicine. Nevertheless, the challenges of developing another novel aspect to one's career, along with balancing coursework, research productivity, clinical duties, and personal life during fellowship, can be overwhelming. Similarly, successfully securing a job at the end of fellowship can be a daunting process. In this article, we discuss the foundational tenets and themes of the GIM fellowship. These themes include (1) finding your purpose and passion, with a focus on selecting research coursework and developing an area of study; (2) the role and importance of mentorship, including the various kinds of mentorship that fellows require (traditional and peer mentorship, sponsors, and coaches), as well as how to be an effective mentee; (3) securing research funding; (4) landing a job; (5) and protecting time to meet personal goals. There is an increased need for a vibrant, diverse, and successful generation of general internal medicine researchers to advance our understanding of complex issues in clinical medicine and healthcare delivery and to inform health policy. It is our hope that this piece helps to support that mission.
Keywords: fellowship; general internal medicine; mentoring; research.