Fellowship training in academic general internal medicine: A curriculum survey

Jay D. Orlander, Christopher M. Callahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether current fellowships in general internal medicine (FGIM) meet the perceived needs and objectives of physicians entering careers in academic internal medicine. Design: A modified Delphi method yielded the 18 curricular elements included in the mailed survey. Participants outlined both actual and ideal fellowship experiences by rating the degree of emphasis of each curricular element on a Likert scale. Respondents then prioritized elements by rank-ordering them on perceived importance. Current job descriptions and opinions on related issues in FGIM were collected. Participants: Potential fellows, current fellows, and recent graduates were surveyed. Individuals were identified through the Society of General Internal Medicine associates’ mailing list and solicitation of program directors. Nonfellow associates served as the proxy group for potential fellows. Measurements and main results: 579 surveys were mailed; 348 (60%) responses were received, of which 288 (50%) were suitable for analysis. Of all respondents, 38% were current fellows and 40% were recent graduates. When asked to prioritize educational needs during fellowship training, respondents ranked research methodology, ambulatory medicine, critical review of the literature, epidemiology, biostatistics, teaching skills, medical consultation, grant writing, preventive medicine, and design of educational curriculum as the top ten. Only minor deviations in rank order were found between graduates and nongraduates. Mean Likert scale scores for degree of emphasis of each curricular element in graduates’ actual fellowships were compared with mean scores for graduates’ ideal fellowship descriptions. High-priority elements that were perceived as adequately emphasized included research methodology, critical analysis of the literature, epidemiology, and biostatistics. High-priority elements that were pereceived as inadequately emphasized included ambulatory medicine, teaching skills, medical consultation, grant writing, preventive medicine, and design of educational curricula. Conclusions: FGIM largely meet the expectations of their fellows for preparation for research responsibilities. However, several curricular elements concerned with preparation for future clinical and teaching responsibilities are perceived by graduates as underemphasized. These areas deserve increased emphasis during fellowship training to better prepare fellows for their future roles in academic general internal medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)460-465
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1991



  • academic medicine
  • curricula
  • fellowships
  • general internal medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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