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Timing and Stability of Fellowship Choices during Pediatric Residency: A Longitudinal Survey

Michelle L. Macy, MD, MS, Laurel K. Leslie, MD, MPH, Debra Boyer, MD, MHPE, Keaton D. Van, MA, Gary L. Freed, MD, MPH
Journal of Pediatrics

To determine, among pediatric residents, the timing and stability of decisions to pursue fellowship training and select a specific subspecialty, which can be used to inform strategies to better match the distribution of pediatric subspecialist with the needs of children.

Study Design
A longitudinal survey administered with the General Pediatrics In-training Exam to pediatric residents in the US and Canada, 2010-2014. The study included residents who responded in each of their first 3 years of residency and indicated plans to enter fellowship or matriculated, 2013-2016, into 1 of the 14 medical subspecialty fellowships for which the American Board of Pediatrics grants a certificate. Descriptive and χ2 statistics were calculated.

Of the 7580 residents who completed 3 annual surveys (response rate 99%) 4963 (65.5%) indicated plans to pursue fellowship training and 2843 (37.5%) matriculated into fellowship. Residents who did not enter fellowship were in smaller residency programs and programs with less interest in fellowship among interns. Most residents who matriculated into fellowship (68.4%) planned to do so as interns and maintained that plan throughout residency. In contrast, 22.7% had selected a specific subspecialty as interns. Fellowship decisions were made later in residency by female residents, American Medical Graduates, and residents in programs where <50% of interns planned to pursue fellowship training. Timing and stability of decisions varied across subspecialty fields.

Understanding the timing of pediatric medical subspecialty fellowship decisions could be used to shape medical education and, ultimately, the pediatric workforce.