The AAGP Scholars Program: Predictors of Pursuing Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship Training

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2020 Jul 30;S1064-7481(20)30430-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2020.07.012. Online ahead of print.


Objective: The American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP) Scholars Program was developed to recruit trainees into geriatric psychiatry fellowships and is considered a pipeline for fellowship recruitment. Nonetheless, the number of trainees entering geriatric psychiatry fellowship is declining, making it important to identify modifiable factors that may influence trainees' decisions to pursue fellowship. We analyzed survey data from Scholars Program participants to identify demographic characteristics, attitudes toward program components, and behaviors after the program that were independently associated with the decision to pursue fellowship.

Methods: Web-based surveys were distributed to all 289 former Scholars participants (2010-2018), whether or not they had completed geriatric psychiatry fellowships. We conducted a hierarchical binary logistic regression analysis to examine demographics, program components, and behaviors after the program associated with deciding to pursue geriatric psychiatry fellowship.

Results: Sixty-one percent of Scholars decided to pursue geriatric psychiatry fellowship. Attending more than one AAGP annual meeting (relative variance explained [RVE] = 34.2%), maintaining membership in the AAGP (RVE = 28.2%), and rating the Scholars Program as important for meeting potential collaborators (RVE = 26.6%) explained the vast majority of variance in the decision to pursue geriatric psychiatry fellowship.

Conclusion: Nearly two-thirds of Scholars Program participants decided to pursue geriatric psychiatry fellowship, suggesting the existing program is an effective fellowship recruitment pipeline. Moreover, greater involvement in the AAGP longitudinally may positively influence Scholars to pursue fellowship. Creative approaches that encourage Scholars to develop collaborations, maintain AAGP membership, and regularly attend AAGP annual meetings may help attract more trainees into geriatric psychiatry.

Keywords: Geriatric psychiatry; fellowship training; medical education; recruitment.