All about Academic General Pediatrics
An academic general pediatrician is trained to care for a wide range of pediatric problems usually in the primary care or inpatient setting. Academic generalists have special expertise in research, education, advocacy, administration, and leadership. They are dedicated to addressing child health in a holistic manner — keeping the child at the center of their work.
Learn more about pediatric academicians through these FAQs:
- What does an Academic General Pediatrician do?
- What kind of training do Academic General Pediatricians need?
- Should I apply for an Academic Generalist or a Hospital Medicine Fellowship?
- What are the career opportunities for an Academic Pediatric Generalist?
- What Board exam, if any, certifies Academic Pediatric Generalists?
- What is the lifestyle of an Academic Pediatric Generalist?
- Why should I choose to become an Academic Pediatric Generalist?
What does an Academic General Pediatrician do?
Academic general pediatricians typically work in academic health centers in a variety of positions, including major roles in pediatric resident and medical student education, research in general pediatrics, pediatric quality improvement, child advocacy, and administration. Most academic generalists have clinical responsibilities including inpatient care, primary care, or clinical programs focused on specific general pediatric problems or vulnerable and underserved children, adolescents, and families.
General pediatricians provide expertise in primary and secondary prevention of disease. Primary prevention is averting the occurrence of disease through specific interventions such as immunizations, or patient education or counseling to prevent injury (i.e., anticipatory guidance); while secondary prevention includes attempts to slow or halt the progression of a disease through early identification (e.g., screening for developmental delay, at-risk behaviors). Primary and secondary prevention are both achieved both in clinical practice and in community education and advocacy.
Topics addressed in research and program development have substantial breadth and include enhancing understanding of and improving outcomes related to acute and chronic pediatric health conditions, health risk behaviors, social determinants of health, genetics in primary care, child maltreatment, health policy, health services research, health systems organization, hospitalist care, health disparities, racial and ethnic disparities in child health, or population-level outcomes research. While research in other pediatric subspecialties tends to focus “within” the patient (i.e., by organ system), general pediatric research programs tend to focus beyond the patient and view children in a broader context. In other words, research focuses on the child in the context of the family, community, health care system, culture, and health care policy.
What kind of training do Academic General Pediatricians need?
Academic General Pediatricians complete four years of medical school and three years of residency training in pediatrics. Most complete two- or three-year fellowship training programs in academic general pediatrics.
Fellowships in academic general pediatrics include training in:
- Research: Research design, epidemiology, evidence-based medicine, statistics, responsible conduct of research, and scientific communication
- Education: Curriculum design including techniques for teaching learners of different levels, as well as program evaluation and assessment of performance, and educational research
- Career Development and Leadership: Professionalism, career planning, academic leadership, administration, health care organization and delivery and advocacy
Many programs include coursework leading to additional advanced degrees such as a Masters of Public Health, Education or Science. Explore fellowship training programs and learn when to apply.
What are the career opportunities for an Academic General Pediatrician?
Academic Generalists are typically based in the departments of pediatrics in academic health centers. Others find positions in policy and public health areas or in health care management (e.g., practice leadership).
What Board exam, if any certifies Academic Pediatric Generalists?
Currently, a separate certification does not exist for Academic Generalists beyond the general pediatric certification examination of the American Board of Pediatrics. However, fellowship training allows the aspiring Academic Generalist to focus in one area in addition to developing the foundational skills needed for a successful career in academia. There are several APA-accredited fellowship programs.
What is the lifestyle of an Academic Pediatric Generalist?
Academic Generalists typically combine teaching, patient care, research, and program administration – and the amounts of each may vary depending on one’s focus and interests. Academic positions may include protected time to engage in research, policy, quality improvement, or educational scholarship.