The Impact of a Medical Education Research Faculty Development Program on Career Development, Through the Lens of Social Cognitive Career Theory

Jaime Jordan, Wendy C. Coates, Michael Gottlieb, William E. Soares, Kaushal H. Shah, Jeffrey N. Love

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The Medical Education Research Certificate at the Council of Residency Directors in Emergency Medicine (MERC at CORD), a specialized adaptation of the Association of American Medical Colleges MERC program, provides faculty development in education research in emergency medicine. However, its long-term influence on career development remains unknown. Our study explored the impact of MERC at CORD on career development through the lens of social cognitive career (SCC) theory. Methods: This was a prospective qualitative study using a constructivist/interpretivist paradigm to assess long-term career development outcomes. A purposeful randomized stratified sampling strategy of MERC at CORD graduates (2011–2014) ensured diversity of representation (sex, region, number of research publications, and project group leadership). Subjects were invited by e-mail to participate in semistructured phone interviews. Thematic analysis by two independent reviewers followed an iterative process until saturation was reached. Results: Twelve graduates were interviewed. All engaged with MERC at CORD early in their careers with minimal previous education research experience. Currently, all hold medical education leadership positions. Graduates had a mean of 19.3 publications (range = 9–43). Themes explaining reasons for participating in MERC at CORD include: desire for education research skills, recommendation of mentors/colleagues, and accessibility. Themes citing the program’s value to career development include networking/collaboration, mentorship, informational framework to build upon, and the application of theoretical knowledge through experiential learning. MERC at CORD impacted career development aligning with the core domains of SCC theory including self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and goals. Conclusion: MERC at CORD enhanced the long-term career development of participants by providing a core knowledge framework in a mentored, experiential learning environment. Participants identified themes aligned with SCC theory as influential in their long-term career advancement in medical education including the development of education research skills, successful completion of education research, career acceleration, promotion, niche development, and formulation of professional goals.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10565
JournalAEM Education and Training
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


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