Engagement in Research Among Pediatric Subspecialists at the Time of Enrollment in Maintenance of Certification, 2009−2016

Macy ML, Van KD, Leslie LK, Freed GL
Pediatric Research

Amid concerns about the pediatrician-scientist workforce, we hypothesized that declining numbers of pediatric subspecialists devote at least 25% of their professional time to research with fewer younger and female pediatricians engaged in research over the study period.

Board-certified pediatricians enrolling online in the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP’s) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program October 2009 through 2016 were invited to complete a survey with questions about the allocation of their professional time. Responses from individuals in the 14 ABP-certified subspecialties were analyzed. The number and proportions of respondents devoting 25−49% and 50% or more of professional time to research were calculated over time. Age and gender were also examined.

We analyzed 21,367 responses over 8 years. A small number of pediatric subspecialists engaged in research with 5.2−6.7% devoting 25−49% and 5.6−8.4% at least 50% of their professional time to research across subspecialties. There was no discernable increase or decrease over time or pattern by age or gender.

Less than 10% of pediatric medical subspecialists devote at least 50% of their professional time to research. Efforts to promote research among pediatric subspecialists have not increased the size of the population that reports engaging in research at this level.