Evaluating Postgraduate Public Health and Biomedical Training Program Outcomes:
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To identify recent studies in the scientific literature that evaluated structured postgraduate public health and biomedical training programs and reported career outcomes among individual trainees, a comprehensive search of several databases was conducted to identify published studies in English between January 1995 and January 2012. Studies of interest included those that evaluated career outcomes for trainees completing full-time public health or biomedical training programs of at least 12 months duration, with structured training offered on-site. Of the over 600 articles identified, only 13 met the inclusion criteria. Six studies evaluated US federal agency programs and six were of university-based programs. Seven programs were solely or predominantly of physicians, with only one consisting mainly of PhDs. Most studies used a cohort or cross-sectional design. The studies were mainly descriptive, with only four containing statistical data. Type of employment was the most common outcome measure (n = 12) and number of scientific publications (n = 6) was second. The lack of outcomes evaluation data from postgraduate public health and biomedical training programs in the published literature is a lost opportunity for understanding the career paths of trainees and the potential impact of training programs. Suggestions for increasing interest in conducting and reporting evaluation studies of these structured postgraduate training programs are provided.
KeywordsCareer Evaluation Fellowship Postdoctoral
We thank Mary Ryan, biomedical librarian/informationist at NIH library, for her help with search terms and conducting literature searches. Aisha Kudura acknowledges summer 2011 fellowship support from the National Cancer Institute’s Introduction to Cancer Research Careers and Elaine Nghiem acknowledges summer 2011 fellowship support from the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health and Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences. We also thank Drs. Julie Mason and Jonathan Wiest for critical reading of the manuscript and insightful comments.
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