Clinician-Educators: Years 1–3
Primary emphasis: Establishing a research focus
Typically, assistant professors will be just out of their fellowships at this point. The primary emphasis of mentoring conversations should be on establishing a research focus. Mentors can suggest other faculty within the division, or across divisions or departments with whom mentees may want to collaborate. In addition, faculty can search the Faculty Expertise Database (FEDS) for potential collaborators. (See information on FEDS in box to the right.) However, toward the end of this time period, mentors should help mentees begin to organize their own research projects and to be first author on some peer-reviewed papers.
Note that biostatisticians and epidemiologists may be particularly vulnerable to lack of research focus, for, as methodologists, they are likely to be called upon to contribute their expertise to studies representing a broad array of clinical areas. Therefore, it is especially important for these faculty that their mentors help them identify a primary and perhaps a secondary research area on which to focus early on.
In addition to establishing a focus to their research, C-Es are typically teaching within their division or department during this initial phase of their appointment. They should try to keep administrative responsibilities to a minimum. For example, organizing a conference may be reasonable now, but serving on committees or directing a course will most likely siphon off time better devoted to establishing a research focus.
As any funding that the department may have been able to supply begins to dwindle, faculty should start exploring other sources of funding. The R01 is only one funding mechanism. The K08 and the K23, NIH career development awards, may be appropriate for faculty at this early stage of their appointments. To review a number of early-career funding options, faculty may want to look at the presentation HERE.
Although mandatory review for promotion may seem a long way off, faculty should make a habit of gathering documentation for their dossiers as they go along. That way, assembling their dossiers will be a much easier task as they approach their review year – and their dossiers will be more likely to represent the full range of their accomplishments, ultimately making a stronger case for their promotion.
The bottom line: Faculty should already be gathering documentation for the educational database (known at many other institutions as the teaching portfolio.) (See EDB Helpful Hints below). They should also review their academic plans at least once a year to ensure that the distribution of their effort matches what they really do from day-to-day and that it is consistent with expectations for their track. They should bring any inconsistencies to the attention of their chair or chief during their annual performance review. Finally, they should make a point of updating their CVs regularly, using the edit feature on FEDS. (See box below.)
Coaching tip Q & A
Roll mouse over HERE for the answer.