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J Gen Intern Med. 2006 Feb;21(2):123-9. Epub 2005 Dec 7.

A time to be promoted. The Prospective Study of Promotion in Academia (Prospective Study of Promotion in Academia).

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Department of Medical Education, St. Luke's Hospital, University of Missouri in Kansas City, MO, USA.



The study's objectives were to determine (1) the rate at which department of medicine faculty in the United States are promoted, (2) if clinician-educators (CEs) are promoted to Associate Professor at the same rate as clinician-investigators (CIs), and (3) the variables that predict promotion.


The Prospective Study of Promotion in Academia was a part-retrospective, part-prospective (from 2000 to 2003) cohort study. Six-hundred and four Internal Medicine junior faculty across the United States who had been registered as new appointees with the Association of American Medical Colleges in 1995 were invited to participate. Twenty-one percent of these had already left their institution when the study began. One hundred and eighty-three Internal Medicine faculty from 87 institutions in 35 states enrolled. The main outcome measure was the time from appointment as Assistant Professor to promotion to Associate Professor.


Follow-up was complete for all 183 faculty. Among the faculty that achieved promotion, the estimated median time to promotion was 6.0 years (95% Conf. Int.=5.8 to 6.2). The unadjusted sixth-year promotion rate for CEs was 16%, while for CIs it was 26% (P=.002). Independent negative predictors of promotion included low amount of research time (Hazard Ratio [HR] =0.3, 95% Conf. Int.=0.2 to 0.5), having a manuscript review service (HR=0.4, 95% Conf. Int.=0.2 to 0.7), never meeting with Chairman/Chief about promotion (HR=0.4, 95% Conf. Int.=0.2 to 0.7), low job satisfaction (HR=0.5, 95% Conf. Int.=0.3 to 0.9), and working in the Northeast (HR=0.6, 95% Conf. Int.=0.4 to 1.1). Positive predictors included making between 130 dollars and 149,000 dollars per year (HR=1.9, 95% Conf. Int.=1.1 to 3.4), working more than 60 h/wk (HR=1.9, 95% Conf. Int.=1.1 to 3.0), having a career mentor available (HR=1.8, 95% Conf. Int.=1.1 to 2.9), and having access to a grant office (HR=1.6, 95% Conf. Int.=1.0 to 2.6).


CEs and CIs appear to be promoted at different rates. The characteristics that are independently associated with earlier promotion may be helpful for institutions and individual faculty that are committed to achieving promotion efficiently.

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