Educational collaboratives offer a promising approach to disseminate educational resources and provide faculty development to advance residents’ training, especially in areas of novel curricular content; however, their impact has not been clearly described. Advocacy training is a recently mandated requirement of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education that many programs struggle to meet.
The authors describe the formation (in 2007) and impact (from 2008 to 2010) of 13 California pediatric residency programs working in an educational collaboration (“the Collaborative”) to improve advocacy training. The Collaborative defined an overarching mission, assessed the needs of the programs, and mapped their strengths. The infrastructure required to build the collaboration among programs included a social networking site, frequent conference calls, and face-to-face semiannual meetings. An evaluation of the Collaborative’s activities showed that programs demonstrated increased uptake of curricular components and an increase in advocacy activities. The themes extracted from semistructured interviews of lead faculty at each program revealed that the Collaborative (1) reduced faculty isolation, increased motivation, and strengthened faculty academic development, (2) enhanced identification of curricular areas of weakness and provided curricular development from new resources, (3) helped to address barriers of limited resident time and program resources, and (4) sustained the Collaborative’s impact even after formal funding of the program had ceased through curricular enhancement, the need for further resources, and a shared desire to expand the collaborative network.