Purpose: To explore whether there is a relationship between resilience and academic productivity of minority faculty members in U.S. academic health centers. For the purposes of the study, the authors defined academic productivity as peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed publications, grants, and academic promotion.
Method: In 2007, the authors simultaneously collected quantitative and qualitative data by using a triangulation (mixed-method) design. Past participants in the Association of American Medical Colleges' Minority Faculty Career Development Seminar completed the Web-based 70-item Personal Resilience Questionnaire (PRQ). In addition, two focus groups were conducted with past seminar participants.
Results: Seventy-four minority faculty members completed the PRQ, and 15 participated in the two focus groups. The quantitative data showed a positive correlation between demographic, educational, and academic productivity variables and certain resilience subscale scores. Common themes that emerged from the qualitative data were categorized under four major domains: existing barriers to academic advancement, internal protective factors or cultural buffers, external institutional or environmental facilitators, and necessary attributes for ensuring academic productivity and advancement.
Conclusions: Certain resilience subscales showed correlation with academic productivity of minority faculty members, and specific personal and/or cultural characteristics were identified as enablers. Minority faculty members may benefit from skill development and coaching that extends beyond the traditional scope of faculty development programs and that specifically targets modifiable resilience characteristics. Additional research is needed, but such nontraditional, resilience-centered intervention strategies may positively affect the advancement of minority faculty in academic medicine.