Background: There is little information describing family physician researchers who work outside academic medical centers. This report describes the motivating factors and resources used by community residency faculty and nonfaculty family physicians who perform research.
Methods: We sent a questionnaire to community residency faculty and nonfaculty family physicians who published at least one paper in the family medicine literature from 1992 through 1994. The survey focused on previous research experience, training, and collaboration with university colleagues, and included an open-ended question about motivations and obstacles to research.
Results: The majority (60%) of community faculty and nonfaculty family physicians surveyed reported previous research experience on the undergraduate, medical school, or residency level. Research training received during residency was evaluated as poor. Sixty-nine percent of the respondents reported being successful at acquiring research funding, and 60% reported receiving funding from foundations. Reported keys to success included mentoring, a supportive infrastructure, and an inherent enjoyment in doing research. These factors did not differ between community residency faculty and nonfaculty physicians.
Conclusions: For community-based family physicians, success at conducting and publishing research is enhanced by the availability of mentoring, support from local or national foundations, and previous research experience. Respondents identified research training during residency as one area that needs improvement.