Factors associated with infectious diseases fellowship academic success

Med Educ Online. 2024 Dec 31;29(1):2352953. doi: 10.1080/10872981.2024.2352953. Epub 2024 May 8.


Background: A multitude of factors are considered in an infectious disease (ID) training program's meticulous selection process of ID fellows but their correlation to pre and in-fellowship academic success as well as post-fellowship academic success and short-term outcomes is poorly understood. Our goal was to investigate factors associated with subsequent academic success in fellowship as well as post-fellowship short-term outcomes.

Methods: In 2022, we retrospectively analyzed deidentified academic records from 39 graduates of the Mayo Clinic Rochester ID Fellowship Program (1 July 2013- 30 June 2022). Data abstracted included demographics, degrees, honor society membership, visa/citizenship status, medical school, residency training program, United States Medical Licensure Exam (USMLE) scores, letters of recommendation, in-training examination (ITE) scores, fellowship track, academic rank, career choice, number of honors, awards, and abstracts/publications prior to fellowship, during training, and within 2 years of graduation.

Results: Younger fellows had higher USMLE step 1 scores, pre and in-fellowship scholarly productivity, and higher ITE performance. Female fellows had significantly higher USMLE step 3 scores. Prior research experience translated to greater in-fellowship scholarly productivity. Higher USMLE scores were associated with higher ID ITE performance during multiple years of fellowship, but USMLE step 2 clinical knowledge and 3 scores were associated with higher pre and in-fellowship scholarly productivity and receiving an award during fellowship. The USMLE step 1 score did not correlate with fellowship performance beyond year 1 and 2 ITE scores.

Conclusions: Multiple aspects of a prospective fellow's application must be considered as part of a holistic review process for fellowship selection. USMLE step 2 CK and 3 scores may predict fellowship performance across multiple domains.

Keywords: Infectious diseases fellowship; academic success; infectious diseases; medical education; outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Success*
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Career Choice
  • Educational Measurement / statistics & numerical data
  • Fellowships and Scholarships* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Medicine / education
  • Internship and Residency / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • United States