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Medical Education Practice-Based Research Networks: Facilitating Collaborative Research

Authors: 
Schwartz A, Young R, Hicks PJ For APPD LEARN
Year: 
2014
Journal: 
Medical Teacher
Pub Med #: 
Abstract: 

Background 
Research networks formalize and institutionalize multi-site collaborations by establishing an infrastructure that enables network members to participate in research, propose new studies, and exploit study data to move the field forward. Although practice-based clinical research networks are now widespread, medical education research networks are rapidly emerging.

Aims 
In this article, we offer a definition of the medical education practice-based research network, a brief description of networks in existence in July 2014 and their features, and a more detailed case study of the emergence and early growth of one such network, the Association of Pediatric Program Directors Longitudinal Educational Assessment Research Network (APPD LEARN).

Methods 
We searched for extant networks through peer-reviewed literature and the world-wide web.

Results 
We identified 15 research networks in medical education founded since 2002 with membership ranging from 8 to 120 programs. Most focus on graduate medical education in primary care or emergency medicine specialties.

Conclusions 
We offer four recommendations for the further development and spread of medical education research networks: increasing faculty development, obtaining central resources, studying networks themselves, and developing networks of networks.