Post-residency medical education fellowships: a scoping review

Med Educ Online. 2021 Dec;26(1):1920084. doi: 10.1080/10872981.2021.1920084.


The authors conducted a scoping review to investigate the structure, content, and potential impact of post-residency medical education fellowships. The authors searched eight databases to identify English-language articles describing longitudinal, post-residency medical fellowships that both focused on medical education and described the structure and content of the curriculum. The authors summarized the findings of each article and, for those articles that included a program evaluation, assessed the potential impact of the program via the Kirkpatrick's Four-Level Training Evaluation Model and the Medical Education Research Study Quality Instrument. Nine articles, describing a total of ten post-residency medical education fellowships, met inclusion criteria. Half of the programs were dedicated medical education fellowships and half were medical education tracks within a subspecialty fellowship. The content and educational strategies varied, with no two programs having the same curriculum. Most programs most focused on teaching skills, adult learning theory, curricular development, and medical education research/scholarship. Most programs used project-based learning, workshops, and faculty mentorship as educational strategies. Six of the articles included an evaluation of their program(s), all of which suggested positive changes, at least at the level of fellow behavior (Kirkpatrick level 3), and designs limited the strength of any conclusions drawn. This scoping review highlights the variation among medical education fellowships and the need for common curricular components, as well as program evaluation, across and within these fellowships. Additional assessment at higher levels of trainee outcomes will help guide the creation and revision of medical education fellowships, and inform the development of a core curriculum shared across programs. Such a core curriculum could then serve as the foundation for a certification program, by which a medical educator's expertise could be recognized, thus elevating medical education to the stature it deserves within the academic mission.

Keywords: Medical education; career development; clinician educator; fellowships training; post-residency fellowship.