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Research Training of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Fellows: A Survey of Fellowship Directors by Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Research Network

Wiley, Susan MD*; Schonfeld, David J. MD; Fredstrom, Bridget MA*; Huffman, Lynne MD

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: July/August 2013 - Volume 34 - Issue 6 - p 406–413
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e31829a7bfe
Original Articles

Objective: To describe research training in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP) Fellowship Programs.

Methods: Thirty-five US-accredited DBP fellowships were contacted through the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Research Network to complete an online survey on scholarly work and research training.

Results: With an 83% response rate, responding programs represented 110 (87 filled) fellowship positions. External funding for fellowship positions was minimal (11 positions fully funded, 13 funded above 50% of cost). Structured research training included didactic lectures, web-based training, university courses, direct mentoring, journal clubs, and required reading. Of the 159 fellows described, spanning a 5-year training period, the majority chose projects relying on their own data collection (57%) rather than joining an existing research study and focused on clinical research (86%). Among 96 fellows with completed scholarly work, 29% were observational/epidemiological studies, 22% secondary analyses of large data sets, 16% community-based research, and 15% survey design. A limited number of fellows pursued basic science, meta-analysis/critical appraisal of the literature, or analysis of public policy. Barriers to successful fellow research are as follows: lack of time and money, challenges in balancing clinical demands and protected faculty research time, limited faculty research opportunities, time or expertise, and a lack of infrastructure for fellow research mentoring.

Conclusions: The scholarly work of fellows in DBP fellowship programs has primarily focused on clinical research using observational/epidemiological research and secondary analysis of large data set. Barriers largely in faculty time and expertise for research mentoring and inadequate funding in programs that have high clinical demands and little resources for research efforts were noted.

*Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH;

Department of Pediatrics, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, PA;

Division of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA.

Address for reprints: Susan Wiley, MD, Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, ML 4002, Cincinnati, OH 45229; e-mail:

Disclosure: DBPNet is supported by cooperative agreement UA3MC20218 from the Maternal Child Health Bureau (Combating Autism Act of 2006), Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Received January 29, 2013

Accepted May 03, 2013

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins