Zipkin leads study on Clinician-Educator roles

Friday, August 14, 2020

Finally, research about Clinician-Educators! A new study published Monday as an online first in the Journal of General Internal Medicine examined whether advanced education training is associated with productivity and success. 

GIM Associate Professor of Medicine, Dr. Daniella Zipkin, was the first author on this paper entitled, Clinician-Educator Training and Its Impact on Career Success: a Mixed Methods Study. The authors were members of the SGIM Education Committee. Using survey data and focus groups the team explored the role of advanced training for clinician-educators and academic success. 

"We wanted to look at whether training actually makes a difference," says Zipkin. 

Key finding
They found that "high-intensity” training, defined as fellowships or degree bearing programs in medical education, was associated with greater career satisfaction, higher academic productivity and lower gender disparity in the publication domain. 

Expected impact
Zipkin says she hopes this research will elevate the conversation about defining clinician-educator paths. She also believes this research will:

  • help trainees and junior faculty make decisions on what opportunities to pursue to get ready for a clinician-educator path; 
  • help mentors and leaders who need educators among their faculty to better support individuals who pursue the educator pathway;
  • and help the promotions process by making the contributions of educators more mainstream

"I'd like to support the movement to a more holistic review of educators based on their multiple contributions that are not manuscripts," says Zipkin. “Duke is doing well in this area, but the process varies greatly across institutions.” Zipkin adds that as we better define the expectations placed on educators, we need to put in place more opportunities for their training.

So, what now? Zipkin hopes more research will be done in these areas, especially as it pertains to race and gender. Ultimately, she hopes to see more Clinician-Educator Fellowships in GIM.

Zipkin, an academic clinician educator
Dr. Daniella Zipkin is an Associate Program Director for the Duke Internal Medicine Residency Program, the Director for the Advocacy in Clinical Leadership Track (ACLT) for residents, and also is a physician and mentor at The Duke Outpatient Clinic. Zipkin tells us that being a clinician-educator is a "dream job" but she knows not everyone who wants to be in academic medicine are as fortunate as she.  Was it her fellowship training that got her this job or just being in the right place at the right time? We may never know.

"Now is the time to shine a spotlight on career development for educators and making the criteria and expectations more clear and unified across institutions," says Zipkin. "It is time to give educators more structure along their path, on par with clinical and research careers”. 

Citation: Zipkin DA, Ramani S, Stankiewicz CA, et al. Clinician-Educator Training and Its Impact on Career Success: a Mixed Methods Study [published online ahead of print, 2020 Aug 10]. J Gen Intern Med. 2020. [link]