Clinical Scholars Track

The Clinical Scholars Track (CST) prepares psychiatry residents for successful careers as clinical track faculty members through development of medical education skills, academic productivity, and professional identity. The program includes group meetings, mentorship, and guidance for scholarly projects. These elements provide our graduates with the tools they need to excel in teaching, to provide service to institutions and national organizations, and to advance in academic rank.

Background

The CST was developed in 1998 in response to a growing group of clinical track faculty. While the tenure track model helped researchers to progress in academic rank, those physicians devoted to education and patient care fit a different niche. Clinical track faculty members are responsible for nearly 60% of teaching, compared with less than 30% for tenure track faculty. Yet a survey of these faculty showed that most had no formal training in education or research. They face promotion requirements that include not only excellence in teaching, but development of a regional or national reputation through academic activity and service to national organizations. When asked what additional experiences in residency would have been most helpful to them, they overwhelmingly cited the need for more formal teaching experience and development of a specific focus of academic activity. With these concerns in mind, the Clinical Scholars Track was designed to prepare residents for success as clinical track faculty in psychiatry. The goal of the track is to qualify graduates for faculty appointments at leading medical centers and prepare them for success in those positions.

From the residents:

"The Clinical Scholars track has given me a platform to explore academic medicine in as broad or narrow a sense as I choose. Also, it is a great way to meet mentors, other faculty, and peers to build a professional network, as well as a great place to explore interests and have honest discussions regarding academic medicine." - Matthew Hughes, current CST resident, PGY4

"The Clinical Scholars Track (CST) at U of M helped me cement my identity as a clinician-educator and helped me to see how to generate a sustainable academic career within this identity. Through the program, I received mentorship from experience faculty and opportunity to work on a number of projects and additional training in preparation for academic work. I would highly recommend this program to any prospective resident who wants a career in academic psychiatry focused on clinical work and teaching." - Divy Ravindrinath, CST graduate, Clinical Assistant Professor, Stanford University and Palo Alto VA

Our graduates are now faculty at various academic institutions across the country, including at University of Washington, Stanford University, University of Nebraska, University of Arkansas, and the University of Pittsburgh, helping educate the next generation of psychiatrists.

Program Goals

The Clinical Scholars Track is focused on three specific areas: 1) development of expertise in medical education; 2) creation of a focus for academic productivity; and 3) establishment of professional identity and reputation.

Medical Education
At the heart of academic psychiatry is the ability to be a strong educator. In addition to learning education techniques during our meetings, CST residents may join faculty in a number of teaching opportunities – to medical students, junior residents, and even trainees in other specialties. Interested residents may develop medical education projects under the supervision of faculty mentors, systematically evaluate the effectiveness of those projects, and ultimately present and publish their work.

Academic Productivity
Success in academia requires the establishment of a regional or national reputation as a leader in the field. This requires focus on a specific area of expertise, research, or leadership. CST residents develop unique areas of activity in their work, either within medical education or in other fields of psychiatry. Mentorship is encouraged early on to further develop the skills needed to work on academic projects.

Professional Identity
Academic psychiatry is a community of scholars who work together to advance the field and to prepare the next generation of psychiatrists. Although this community is open and welcoming to new members, finding one's place in it can be a challenge. CST residents work closely with faculty mentors who are active in regional and national organizations, and quickly become a part of those networks. Publication, presentation, and participation in these large-scale academic activities are critical to the residents' success and are a focus of CST activity.

Program Design

Mentorship
The selection of a faculty mentor is a key step in the CST. Residents work closely with their mentors over several years in the development of projects, preparation of presentations and publications, and other activities. Mentors serve as role models and guides through the sometimes arcane world of academia. Graduates of the CST program have consistently cited their faculty mentors as the single most important element of the program.

Meetings
We will meet regularly to discuss ongoing academic projects, learn more about educational techniques, hear from faculty members about their path in academic medicine, and to work on crucial skills, such as leadership and feedback.

Travel
Because of the importance of participation in professional organizations, the program sponsors travel to at least 2 meetings per year for CST residents. Residents are expected to actively participate in these meetings, conducting workshops, presenting posters, and speaking. Additional funds are available to assist residents in with these activities.

Optional Activities
CST residents are encouraged to participate in faculty development programs, such as the medical school's Medical Education Scholars Program or the University's Center for Research and Learning on Teaching seminars. CST residents are invited to join faculty committees related to their areas of interest. Where additional training time or more in-depth research training would be appropriate, CST residents have the option of transitioning to the Research Track.

Certificate of Graduation
At graduation, residents who have participated in the CST, have completed a project, and who have been active in related professional activities receive recognition on their diploma from the residency program and in their final evaluation letter. Their participation is thus noted on all letters from the program documenting their residency training.

 

How to Apply

The Clinical Scholars Track is an integral part of the general and subspecialty residency programs and accepts applicants only from within the residency. Residents in the program may apply to the CST at any time during training, but are encouraged to do so by the end of PGY-2, to provide the maximum time in the track.

The application process consists of a brief letter requesting entry, identification of a faculty mentor (who has agreed to serve in that role), and outline of a project or area of academic interest that will be the initial focus of work.

University of Michigan GME Scholars Program
The GME Scholars Program is a unique opportunity available to residents and fellows at the University of Michigan designed to provide a strong foundation for positions in medical education or healthcare administration.