Individuals 55 or older constitute 28.5% of the U.S. population but 32% of full-time faculty at U.S. medical schools accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). The academic medicine community knows little about the policies, programs, and resources for faculty in pre- and post-retirement stages. The authors sought to inventory the range of institutional resources for late-career faculty development and retirement planning in U.S. LCME-accredited medical schools.
The authors surveyed 138 medical school faculty affairs deans and leaders in May 2017 to ascertain (1) priorities around retirement, succession planning, and workforce development/support; (2) retirement policies; (3) late-career and retirement resources; and (4) perceived factors impacting faculty retirement.
Of those invited, 84 (60.9%) responded to the survey, and of these, 44 (52.4%) disagreed or strongly disagreed that retirement planning and support was a top priority in their offices. Less than half (n = 35 [41.7%]) reported that their institution had a retirement policy. The 5 most common late-career and retirement-related resources offered were emeriti or honorific appointments, academic benefits for retirees, phased retirement, retirement counseling, and financial planning. More than half the respondents noted that the following factors impact faculty retirements: physician burnout (43/75 respondents [57.3%]), decreased grant funding (42/75 [56.0%]), and changes in productivity requirements (38/75 [50.7%]).
These data highlight a distinct, startling gap between the needs of a fast-growing population of late-career faculty and the priorities of their institutions. Faculty affairs/faculty development offices must meet these growing needs.