Funding Sources and Perceived Financial Insecurity in Pediatric Subspecialty Fellowship Programs

Document Type


Publication Date



DOI: 10.1016/j.acap.2019.06.006


© 2019 Academic Pediatric Association

Objective: Shortages of pediatric subspecialists exist in many fields with insufficient recruitment of new fellows. The current system of funding graduate medical education is inadequate. We examined funding sources for trainee salary and educational expenses in pediatric fellowship programs, effects of funding constraints, and program characteristics associated with financial insecurity as reported by fellowship program directors (FPD).

Methods: We conducted a national survey of FPD between November 1, 2016 and February 9, 2017. We used multivariable logistic regression to examine the association between perceived financial insecurity, program characteristics, and funding sources for fellow salary.

Results: We obtained data from 519 FPD, representing 14 different pediatric subspecialties. FPD reported that funding limitations restricted program size and educational resources in 22% and 36% of programs, respectively. Nineteen percent of FPD perceived funding of their program to be insecure. Programs with 7 or more fellows (OR .50 [95% CI .27–.90], P = .03) or hospital or graduate medical education/Children's Hospital graduate medical education funding (OR .58 [95% CI .35–.96], P = .04) were less likely to be perceived as insecure. Conversely, programs with extramural (OR 1.74 [95% CI 1.07–2.81], P = .03) or division funding (OR 1.70 [95% CI 1.02–2.82], P = .04) or in subspecialties with more than 25% unfilled positions or programs (OR 1.86 [95% CI 1.11–3.09], P = .02) were more likely to be perceived as insecure.

Conclusions: Perceived financial insecurity of fellowship programs was strongly associated with program size, funding source, and unfilled positions, limiting recruitment and resources. Stable funding of fellowship programs is critical to maintain an adequate pediatric subspecialty workforce.

Journal Title

Academic Pediatrics





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Funding; graduate medical education; pediatric fellowships

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