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Pediatrics. 1993 Sep;92(3):436-41.

Factors influencing the interests, career paths, and research activities of recent graduates from an academic, pediatric residency program.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030.



This study was undertaken to characterize the professional activity of a cohort of young pediatricians who completed an academically oriented residency program, to analyze factors which influenced their interests, career choices, and research activity, and to understand what steps might be effective in attracting more young physicians into academic and research career paths.


We studied by questionnaire a cohort of 150 pediatric residents from the Children's Hospital in Boston who completed residency training between 1976 and 1981.


Questionnaires were returned by 117 (78%) of 150 individuals. Of these, 73% were in academic medicine and 37% were in clinical practice. Individuals were engaged in various activities with a mean of 47% effort in clinical care, 25% effort in administration and teaching, and 28% effort in basic or clinical research. The majority of respondents (71 [61%] of 117) reported at least 10% effort in all three activities. Only 9 (8%) of 117 reported no clinical activity, 8 (7%) of 117 reported no teaching or administrative activity, and 35 (30%) of 117 reported no research activity. Few individuals dedicated more than 50% of their time to research, and none reported a 100% commitment to research. Clinical sources provided 71% of all salary support, research grants 17%, government salaries 7%, and other sources 5%. For most respondents, interest in clinical practice predated medical school, whereas interest in research increased during preclinical training, particularly among those who engaged in research activities. Respondents identified previous research experience as the principle factor enhancing their decision and ability to do research. Factors that adversely influenced their decision or ability to do research included salary expectancy, funding, the perceived competitiveness of academic life, administrative duties, and family responsibilities.


Efforts to encourage more young physicians to enter academic careers should focus on providing research experience during preclinical training and providing long-term support for research which enables physician scientists to maintain their interest and involvement in clinical medicine.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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