Promotion Criteria for Medical Educators: Are We Climbing a Ladder with Invisible Rungs?

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Academic Pediatrics


Objective; In 2006 the Association of American Medical Colleges recommended standardization of documentation of the contributions of medical educators and guidelines for their academic promotion. The authors characterized current United States (US) medical school promotion guidelines for medical educators. Methods; Authors collected publicly available data from medical school promotion websites from March through July 2022 after determining categories by traditional-set domains as well as peer-reviewed standards. Extracted data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics, and frequencies were calculated for nominal and categorical data. Results; Of 155 medical schools identified, promotion criteria were publicly available for 143 (92%) schools. Ninety-one (64%) schools identified a distinct educator track. Of those with a defined educator track, 44 (48%) schools consider workshops or other media when evaluating candidates for promotion, and only 52 (57%) of schools with a specified educational track require additional documentation of teaching or education as part of their promotion process. Notably, 34 (37%) of the 91 schools with an educator track specifically require an Educational Portfolio, compared to 27 (52%) of the 52 schools that do not have a specific educator track for promotion. Conclusion; This study describes the current lack of clarity and consistency of the promotion criteria for medical educators and indicates that the guidelines proposed by the Association of American Medical Colleges over 15 years ago have not been widely adopted. These data amplify previous calls for a more objective set of criteria for evaluating and recognizing the contributions of medical educators.

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