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Career Trajectory of Physicians Following a Fellowship Program: A Descriptive Study

Gidon Berger, Danny Epstein, Galit Kobi, Eyal Braun, Zaher S. Azzam, and Michael Halberthal

Abstract

Introduction. A clinical and/or research fellowship abroad has become a prevalent choice among Israeli physicians. However, the influence of fellowship programs on the career path is unclear. We evaluated the role of physicians returning from fellowship in the organizational hierarchy and their professional and academic status. Methods. This was a retrospective, descriptive, cross-sectional study of physicians who completed a survey after accomplishing a fellowship. The survey included questions about the physicians’ attitudes toward the program, programs’ details, and the physicians’ current academic, professional, and administrative status. Information about scientific publications was also collected. Results. Of the 106 physicians receiving the questionnaire, 101 responded. The majority completed a two-year fellowship in North America. Forty percent participated in an integrated program (research and clinical), and 40% participated in clinical programs. Subjectively, the physicians attributed a significant value to the fellowship and positively recommend it. Most of the physicians held managerial positions, academic appointments, and had generated significant research. Discussion. The subjective perspective of all physicians participating in the study was that attending a fellowship program had a positive impact on their careers. Objectively, the accomplishment of a fellowship program empowered the studied physicians to become scholars, senior executives, and opinion leaders in their professional field.