Document Type


Publication Date

March 2007


This article has been peer reviewed. It was published in Family Medicine 39(3):171-177, March 2007, available on the publisher's site at Copyright by The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine; reproduced in the Jefferson Digital Commons by permission.


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Family medicine faces declining student interest and funding. Predoctoral directors will help lead efforts to overcome these challenges. Academic success will be important for predoctoral directors to be effective leaders in academic health centers. We therefore sought to describe predoctoral directors and factors associated with their academic success.

METHODS: We carried out a cross-sectional survey of all family medicine predoctoral directors at US allopathic medical schools using a Web-based questionnaire. The response rate was 82%. We measured academic success using a variable combining rank and tenure status. We used bivariate analysis and multiple linear regression analysis to identify factors associated with academic success.

RESULTS: The mean age of predoctoral directors is 47, and 45% are women. Forty-two percent are assistant professors, 36% associate professors, 20% full professors, and 33% are on a tenure track. Sixty-four percent of predoctoral programs receive Title VII funding, and 63% of predoctoral directors believe that loss of Title VII funding will adversely affect student education. Factors associated with academic success include years since residency, total publications, years as predoctoral director, male gender, state funding for predoctoral family medicine programs, and participation in an academic fellowship. Involvement in educational research was associated with number of publications.

CONCLUSIONS: Providing predoctoral directors with the skills and support needed to study their educational undertakings and publish their findings may help them achieve academic success. Medical educators must assess the effects of loss of Title VII funding on predoctoral education while seeking new sources of funding.