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Academia and the Profession |

Postdoctoral Research Training of Full-Time Faculty in Academic Departments of Medicine

Gerald S. Levey, MD; Charles R. Sherman, PhD; Nancy O. Gentile, MA; Linda J. Hough, MPH; Thomas H. Dial, PhD; and Paul Jolly, PhD
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant Support: Partial support by grant NO1-OD-2103, the National Institutes of Health, and the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

Requests for Reprints: Gerald S. Levey, MD, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 1218 Scaife Hall, 3550 Terrace Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Levey and Ms. Hough: Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 1218 Scaife Hall, 3550 Terrace Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261.

Dr. Sherman: National Institutes of Health, Division of Program Analysis,Room 228, Building 1, Bethesda, MD 20892.

Ms. Gentile: Association of American Medical Colleges, Suite 200, One Dupont Circle, NW, Washington, DC 20036.

Dr. Dial: The American Psychiatric Association, 1400 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005.

Dr. Jolly: Association of American Medical Colleges, Section of Operational Studies, One Dupont Circle, NW, Washington, DC 20036.


©1988 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1988;109(5):414-418. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-109-5-414
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This report shows the results of a survey of 5604 faculty in departments of medicine, 4200 of whom had postdoctoral research training. As a follow-up to a previous study of research activity in the same population, this retrospective survey focused on location of training, source of funding, structure of the training program, impact of the training experience on career development, and respondents' recommendations for changes in training programs. A predominant finding is that most postdoctoral training occurred in medical schools, and the primary source of funding was the National Institutes of Health. For faculty members with the MD degree, being an active researcher and principal investigator for a peer-reviewed research grant were associated with length of training. The average length of time between the end of postdoctoral research training and obtaining the first peer-reviewed research grant was 24 months, regardless of length of training, source of training support, training site, or type of academic degree (MD, MD-PhD, or PhD). The results of this survey suggest a tentative formula to be a successful researcher in academic medicine: 2 or more years of postdoctoral research training, including formal course work in the fundamental sciences pertinent to biomedical research; 2 to 3 years of full research support from the academic institution until the first extramural grant is obtained; and commitment of at least 33% of time to research activities. The results also suggest directions for change and improvement in future research training programs.

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