Building research culture and capacity in academic family medicine departments
Canadian Family Physician
Objective To use data from a workshop in which various representatives from departments of family medicine (DFMs) aimed to identify strategies to increase research activity, particularly among clinical faculty members. Design Descriptive qualitative study using data from a workshop in which participants role-played (ie, as clinician-teachers, department chairs, and mentors) and, while in the role-playing scenario, were asked to imagine strategies that would encourage the clinical faculty members to engage in research. Setting The 2014 North American Primary Care Research Group Annual Meeting in New York City, NY. Participants Thirty-two workshop participants who belonged to DFMs and other academic primary care organizations: 18 from Canada, 11 from the United States, 2 from Australia, and 1 from the Netherlands. Methods Facilitators recorded the strategies at the workshop. Strategies were organized into themes and vetted by facilitators to ensure that they adequately represented the data. Finalized themes were compared and integrated across scenarios. Main findings Participants enthusiastically and productively engaged in the role-playing scenarios. The themes that emerged from the workshop discussions indicated that in order to increase clinician-teacher engagement in research, the following factors needed to be attended to: Gaining confidence in conducting research; finding research topics that have personal relevance; presenting clarity of expectations; fostering collaborative relationships; using a tailored approach; providing resources, structures, and processes; and having leadership and vision. Finally, it was important to recognize these efforts in the context of the existing research environment of the DFM and the various responsibilities of clinician-teachers. Conclusion The analysis of data arising from this simulation workshop elucidated practical strategies for building and sustaining research in DFMs. There is a clear indication that one size does not fit all with respect to strategies for building a research culture in a DFM; the authors' recommendations guide departments to tailor strategies to their unique context.