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A Journal on Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Dietetics

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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2009 March;55(1):101-10

language: English

Advice for a career in academic gastroenterology: from fellowship application through job selection and contract negotiations to research and promotion

Cappel M. S

Division of Gastroenterology William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, MI, USA


This study aims to describe a comprehensive strategy for success in academic gastroenterology by reporting common sense, but mostly previously unpublished, recommendations. The recommendation are based on expert opinion from personal experience mentoring 125 gastroenterology fellows and residents as a program director for nine years and from mentoring research while publishing more than 160 articles in peer-reviewed journals and editing 11 books during a 23-year academic career. Primary criteria for fellowship applicant selection include board scores, clinical performance, interview performance, clinical training, and research productivity. For optimal chances, select the subspecialty of gastroenterology early during residency, consult a mentor, and develop a well-planned strategy. Faculty advancement depends upon publications, grants, national recognition, interpersonal skills, and recommendations. Article categories from highest-to-lowest in prestige are original investigations, review articles, book chapters, case reports, and letters/abstracts. Articles are judged by the prestige of the journal of publication. Resubmit rejected articles to successively less prestigious journals until accepted for publication. Articles in journals without peer-review have negligible career impact. Grant support creates protected time. Institutional reputation is important in academics. Do not accept a job without a written contract. Have a lawyer review your contract. An outside offer strengthens a negotiating position. Be sociable and nonconfrontational at work. Network with colleagues. Seek a mentor. Meet your supervisor regularly for feedback. Never express anger at your boss or patients. Avoid litigation with employers. Sub-subspecialize to develop expertise in one area. Focus on this area in your research and clinical practice. In conclusion, a well-planned strategy can help you achieve a senior academic position early and efficiently.

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