Innovation and

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Empirical Research

Published online April 29, 2021

Copyright © Innovation and Education.

Examining resource availability and usefulness in a National Health Service Research Interprofessional Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

Jennifer L. Bryan1,2,3,Megan E. Gregory4,Charnetta R. Brown2,5,Annette Walder2,3,Joshua D. Hamer1,2,3,Whitney L. Mills6,7,Aanand D. Naik2,3,Kyler M. Godwin2,3,Sylvia J. Hysong2,3

VA South Central Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, Houston, USA; Houston VA HSR&D Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston, USA; Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, USA; Center for the Advancement of Team Science, Analytics and Systems, Thinking in Health Services Research, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, USA; Eagle Hill Consulting, Arlington, USA; Center for Innovation in Long-Term Services and Supports, Providence VA Medical Center, Providence, USA; School of Public Health, Brown University, Providence, USA

Correspondence to:Jennifer L. Bryan

Received: July 17, 2019; Accepted: March 22, 2021

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Postdoctoral fellowships are costly: institutions incur substantial monetary costs, and fellows suffer the opportunity cost of delaying entry into their professional careers. Nevertheless, fellowship training is a beneficial academic investment; the right resources can attract high-quality candidates and maximize return on investment for all parties. This study examined the availability and perceived utility of training resources in a national, multisite interprofessional health services research fellowship program and examined differences in resource perception between alumni and directors as well as M.D. and Ph.D. alumni. One-hundred thirty-one alumni and 15 directors from a multisite interprofessional postdoctoral fellowship completed surveys regarding fellowship resources. Results from the fellowship sample as a whole revealed that mentoring and seminars were the most commonly available resources in fellowships and alumni from the same site often disagreed about resource availability. When we compared alumni and directors’ responses from the same site, we found they often disagreed about resource availability, with directors often being more likely to respond that the resource is available than the alumni. Finally, M.D. alumni reported availability of more resources and found resources to be more useful overall than Ph.D. alumni. Mentoring and seminars are important and commonly provided resources for trainees in fellowship programs; however, M.D.s and Ph.D.s vary in perceived usefulness of other resources, suggesting that one resource does not fit all. Given the gap, postdoctoral fellows may benefit from direct communication of available resources. Moreover, as Ph.D. fellows reported less resource availability and usefulness, attention should be given to meeting their unmet needs. Taken together, this will optimize their fellowship experience, thus better preparing them for their career and, ultimately, their impact on health care.

Keywords: Postdoctoral education, Interprofessional education, Professional development, Fellowship