Christopher White; Greenberg L; Waller J, Freed G; Kaufman N; David Levine; Moore R; Angela Sharkey; Miller S.; COMSEP Survey Team members from other institutions. Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia
Objective: The last (and only) COMSEP membership survey was published in 1995. We sought to provide an updated, accurate description of the state of North American pediatric undergraduate medical education programs in 2004.
Methods: A 106-item survey was designed by COMSEP members and administered via the Internet. Questions were written to update the 1995 survey as well as to address new issues in medical education.
Results: 105/131 U.S. medical schools and 7/16 Canadian medical schools responded to the survey. This data analysis involves the first 100 respondents. Compared with responses from 1995, pediatric clerkship directors (PCD’s) have held their position for slightly longer, are more likely to be women, are less likely to be on the tenure track, have lower academic rank, and have fewer peer-reviewed publications. Over 40% of responding PCD’s had been promoted within the past 5 years, and most felt that their position as PCD was influential in their promotion. PCD’s devote more time to clerkship activities compared to 1995 (41% vs. 28%), but this is still felt to be less than ideal. Over 93% of PCD’s felt their chairs were supportive or very supportive, while support from their colleagues was felt to be somewhat lower (76%). 91% of PCD’s expressed satisfaction with their jobs, and most felt that the position of PCD was a legitimate long-term career at their institution. Only 28% of clerkship directors have a local mentor, with even fewer having regional or national mentors for support and guidance. The average clerkship is 7.04 weeks, with approximately 50% spent in either ambulatory or acute care settings. 48% of students spend some time in a community practice setting. The COMSEP Curriculum is used by 84% responding pediatric programs.
Conclusion: Pediatric undergraduate medical education is perceived to be a legitimate career tract, but most PCD’s are non-tenured and hold lower academic rank than 10 years ago. Traditional educational scholarship (publications) by PCD’s remains low.