Scholarly Activity

Scholarly Activity Requirement for Pediatric Fellows

A scholarly work product is required for certification for the following pediatric subspecialties:

  • Adolescent Medicine 
  • Cardiology
  • Child Abuse Pediatrics
  • Critical Care Medicine
  • Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics
  • Endocrinology
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Gastroenterology
  • Hematology-Oncology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Nephrology
  • Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
  • Pulmonology
  • Rheumatology

Scholarly activity will be required for fellows training in hospital medicine at the same time accredited training is required. Refer to the eligibility criteria for details.

Fellows are required to engage in scholarly projects during fellowship and produce a written work product to the ABP at the end of fellowship training. The work product is expected to be submitted by the program director of the fellowship along with the final evaluation. Details of the expectations and requirement follow below.

Core Curriculum

All fellows must participate in a core curriculum in scholarly activities. This curriculum should provide skills that lead to an in-depth understanding of biostatistics, clinical and laboratory research methodology, study design, preparation of applications for funding and/or approval of clinical or research protocols, critical literature review, principles of evidence-based medicine, ethical principles involving clinical research, and the achievement of proficiency in teaching. The curriculum should lead to an understanding of the principles of adult learning and provide skills to participate effectively in curriculum development, delivery of information, provision of feedback to learners, and assessment of educational outcomes. Graduates should be effective in teaching both individuals and groups of learners in clinical settings, classrooms, lectures, and seminars, and also by electronic and print modalities. Additional content specifications have been developed for subspecialty examinations based on the competencies related to the core curriculum in scholarly activities. Click here to view these additional specifications.

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Scholarly Activities

In addition to the core curriculum described, all fellows are expected to engage in specific areas of scholarly activity to allow acquisition of skills in the critical analysis of the work of others; to assimilate new knowledge, concepts, and techniques related to the field of one’s practice; to formulate clear and testable questions from a body of information/data so as to be prepared to become effective subspecialists and to advance research in pediatrics; to translate ideas into written and oral forms as teachers; to serve as consultants for colleagues in other medical or scientific specialties; and to develop as leaders in their fields.

All fellows will be expected to engage in projects in which they develop hypotheses or in projects of substantive scholarly exploration and analysis that require critical thinking. Areas in which scholarly activity may be pursued include, but are not limited to: basic, clinical, or translational biomedicine; health services; quality improvement; bioethics; education; and public policy. Fellows must gather and analyze data, derive and defend conclusions, place conclusions in the context of what is known or not known about a specific area of inquiry, and present their work in oral and written form.

A Scholarship Oversight Committee in conjunction with the trainee, the mentor, and the program director will determine whether a specific activity is appropriate to meet the ABP guidelines for scholarly activities. In addition to biomedical research, examples of acceptable activities might include a critical meta-analysis of the literature, a systematic review of clinical practice with the scope and rigor of a Cochrane review, a critical analysis of public policy relevant to the subspecialty, or a curriculum development project with an assessment component. These activities require active participation by the fellow and must be mentored. The mentor(s) will be responsible for providing the ongoing feedback essential to the trainee’s development.

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Work Product of Scholarly Activity

Involvement in scholarly activities must result in the generation of a specific written “work product.” Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • A peer-reviewed publication in which a fellow played a substantial role
  • An in-depth manuscript describing a completed project
  • A thesis or dissertation written in connection with the pursuit of an advanced degree
  • An extramural grant application that has either been accepted or favorably reviewed
  • A progress report for projects of exceptional complexity, such as a multi-year clinical trial

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Scholarship Oversight Committee

Review of scholarly activity and the written work product will occur at the local level. Each fellow must have a Scholarship Oversight Committee. The Scholarship Oversight Committee should consist of three or more individuals, at least one of whom is based outside the subspecialty discipline; the fellowship program director may serve as a trainee’s mentor and participate in the activities of the oversight committee, but should not be a standing (i.e., voting) member. This committee will:

  • Determine whether a specific activity is appropriate to meet the ABP guidelines for scholarly activity
  • Determine a course of preparation beyond the core fellowship curriculum to ensure successful completion of the project
  • Evaluate the fellow's progress as related to scholarly activity
  • Meet with the fellow early in the training period and regularly thereafter
  • Require the fellow to present/defend the project related to his/her scholarly activity
  • Advise the program director on the fellow's progress and assess whether the fellow has satisfactorily met the guidelines associated with the requirement for active participation in scholarly activities

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Requirement for Application for the Certifying Examination

Upon completion of training, the ABP will require:

Please refer to the General Eligibility Criteria for Certification in the Pediatric Subspecialties.

  • Verification from the training program director that the clinical and scholarly skills requirements have been met
  • The actual “work product” of the scholarly activity as described above
  • Signature of the fellow, program director, and members of the Scholarship Oversight Committee on the work product of the fellow as described above

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Assessment of Core Knowledge in Scholarly Activities

Because there is a requirement for fellows to demonstrate competence in scholarly activity and produce a scholarly work product, the ABP will assess the acquisition of knowledge to engage in scholarly activity. The content outlines for all of the ABP’s pediatric subspecialties share a common domain called “Core Knowledge in Scholarly Activities.” This means that all of the ABP’s subspecialty exams contain a relatively small percentage of questions (5-7% for in-training and initial certification exams, 2-5% for maintenance of certification exams) covering core scholarly activity topics such as principles of biostatistics in research, principles of epidemiology and clinical research design, ethics in research, and quality improvement.

In 2017, the specific content within the Core Knowledge in Scholarly Activities domain was reviewed and updated by a small task force of practicing subspecialists to help ensure its continued relevance to practice. The updated domain content was subsequently vetted and approved by each of the ABP’s pediatric subspecialty boards. The updated content will be incorporated into each subspecialty’s content outline beginning in January 2018.

More detailed information regarding the specific topics (i.e., subdomains) included in the Core Knowledge in Scholarly domain can be found here.

The full list of content outlines for all pediatric subspecialties can be found here.

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Training Requirements for Subspecialty Certification

The document below was published by the American Board of Pediatrics in 2004 to describe the Board’s scholarly activity requirements for fellows. Please note that since the document was published, some of the nonstandard training pathways and other certification requirements described in the document have changed. The most current information is available on the ABP website.