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Fam Med. 2002 Nov-Dec;34(10):755-60.

Family medicine educators' perceptions of the future of faculty development.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Massachusetts, Worcester 01655, USA.



Faculty development has been an important part of academic family medicine for 3 decades. However, few studies examine the effectiveness of various faculty development delivery methods. With little quantitative data from the literature with which to recommend future directions, this study examined key stakeholders'perceptions.


A total of 127 family medicine faculty participated in 14 different focus groups. Department chairs, full-time and part-time faculty, and volunteer preceptors responded to seven questions about delivery methods.


Discussants emphasized that future faculty development methods must be proven effective, woven into the fabric of clinical practice, and deal with increasing time and financial pressures. Much discussion was related to the need for national and regional strategies allowing for emphasis on outcome evaluation, flexibility, and access. Web-based delivery methods and preceptor needs were emphasized.


Study participants called for a more rigorous evidence-based approach to faculty development. A more systematic and stable approach could include the establishment of new federal criteria for funding projects that address different levels of development and implementation. For example, one set of review criteria would be applicable to systematic case-control studies of new interventions while another set would relate to dissemination studies of proven methodologies.

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