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A nationwide assessment of perceptions of research-intense academic careers among predoctoral MD and MD-PhD trainees

  • Jennifer M. Kwan (a1) (a2), Omar Toubat (a2) (a3), Andrew M. Harrison (a2) (a4), Megan Riddle (a5), Brian Wu (a3), Hajwa Kim (a6), David W. Basta (a3), Alexander J. Adami (a2) (a5) and Dania Daye (a2) (a7)...

Abstract

Introduction:

While previous studies have described career outcomes of physician-scientist trainees after graduation, trainee perceptions of research-intensive career pathways remain unclear. This study sought to identify the perceived interests, factors, and challenges associated with academic and research careers among predoctoral MD trainees, MD trainees with research-intense (>50%) career intentions (MD-RI), and MD-PhD trainees.

Methods:

A 70-question survey was administered to 16,418 trainees at 32 academic medical centers from September 2012 to December 2014. MD vs. MD-RI (>50% research intentions) vs. MD-PhD trainee responses were compared by chi-square tests. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to identify variables associated with academic and research career intentions.

Results:

There were 4433 respondents (27% response rate), including 2625 MD (64%), 653 MD-RI (15%), and 856 MD-PhD (21%) trainees. MD-PhDs were most interested in pursuing academia (85.8%), followed by MD-RIs (57.3%) and MDs (31.2%). Translational research was the primary career intention for MD-PhD trainees (42.9%). Clinical duties were the primary career intention for MD-RIs (51.9%) and MDs (84.2%). While 39.8% of MD-PhD respondents identified opportunities for research as the most important career selection factor, only 12.9% of MD-RI and 0.5% of MD respondents shared this perspective. Interest in basic research, translational research, clinical research, education, and the ability to identify a mentor were each independently associated with academic career intentions by multivariate regression.

Conclusions:

Predoctoral MD, MD-RI, and MD-PhD trainees are unique cohorts with different perceptions and interests toward academic and research careers. Understanding these differences may help to guide efforts to mentor the next generation of physician-scientists.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: J. M. Kwan, MD, PhD, Department of Cardiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA. Email: kwanjen@gmail.com

References

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A nationwide assessment of perceptions of research-intense academic careers among predoctoral MD and MD-PhD trainees

  • Jennifer M. Kwan (a1) (a2), Omar Toubat (a2) (a3), Andrew M. Harrison (a2) (a4), Megan Riddle (a5), Brian Wu (a3), Hajwa Kim (a6), David W. Basta (a3), Alexander J. Adami (a2) (a5) and Dania Daye (a2) (a7)...

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