As detailed in the 2018 ACGME Common Program Requirements statement for fellowship institutions, “The physician is a humanistic scientist who cares for patients. This requires the ability to think critically, evaluate the literature, appropriately assimilate new knowledge, and practice lifelong learning.” Endocrinology fellowship programs are tasked with the expectation of creating an environment that fosters scholarly pursuit. It is under the discretion of each program to consider its institutional resources and community needs in order to meet this ACGME requirement.1
With the goal of enhancing trainee scholarly activity, our fellowship program created a Scholarly Activity Curriculum in 2017. The core curriculum pillars include delineating a yearly timeline of objectives and expectations, facilitating regular individual mentoring, permitting allotment of protected time, and advocating involvement in faculty scholarship and national conferences.
The scholarly activities of the fellowship classes of 2017-2020 were extracted from archived Fellow Scholarly Activity Update presentations and exit-interview curricula vitae. The activities were categorized as conference presentations (oral/poster), basic scientific research, clinical scientific research, quality improvement, book chapters, review articles, case reports, and teaching activities. With the 2017 and 2018 classes representing the pre-curriculum study group and the 2019 and 2020 classes representing the post-curriculum study group, the number of activities per study group per scholarly category were tabulated and compared.
An increase in scholarly activity was noted in five of the delineated categories: conference presentations (80%), clinical scientific research (86%), review articles (100%), case reports (100%), and teaching activities (38%). The remaining three categories of basic scientific research, quality improvement, and book chapters showed no change.
The implementation of the 2017 Endocrinology Fellowship Scholarly Activity Curriculum was associated with a rise in trainee scholarly activity. Four of eight categories showed an 80% or more increase. Interestingly, the fellows involved in basic scientific research both pre and post-curriculum implementation were limited to those in the Specialty Training and Advanced Research (STAR) Program. Finally, identifying the need to increase involvement in quality improvement research, our program has implemented a 2019 Quality Improvement Curriculum.