Promotion Of Clinical Educators: A Critical Need In Academic Family Medicine

Abstract [from journal]

Background and objectives: Academic family medicine departments have traditionally promoted faculty using research and scholarship criteria augmented by teaching, clinical care, and service. Clinic-focused faculty who spend significant time in direct patient care may not have enough time to meet promotion criteria, although they are critical for training future family physicians and for rebalancing the system of academic promotion.

Methods: We surveyed family medicine department chairs on the effects of protected time for scholarship, presence of promotion and tenure (P and T) committees, salary increase, and special promotion tracks on promotion of physician faculty.

Results: Promotion rates to both associate and full professor were higher for faculty with 25% time for scholarship than for clinic-focused faculty. For clinic-focused faculty, promotion rates to associate professor were higher than they were to full professor. No differences were found for promotion to associate professor and full professor for faculty with 25% protected time for scholarship. No differences were found in promotion rates for either rank between departments that had P and T committees and those that didn't, whether promotion came with a salary increase, or if departments had a special track for physician faculty whose job is patient care.

Conclusions: Promotion rates are higher for faculty with protected time for scholarship than for clinic-focused faculty for promotion to both associate and full professor. Clinic demands on faculty may reduce the likelihood of engaging in scholarship or research that in many academic family medicine departments is necessary for promotion.