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An Integrative Review of Core Competencies for Millennial Academic Medical Faculty

posted on 01.05.2021, 00:00 by Christy Nene Okoromah
Medical faculty in their traditional core roles as educators, researchers, physicians and academic leaders, are central to actualizing the vision, mission, broad goal and specific objectives of universities and their medical schools for medical education and healthcare across their continuum [undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education including faculty development] Therefore the visibility, productivity, prestige and overall success of Universities and their medical schools critically depend on the capacity of their faculty members to fulfill institutional and individual core mandates of medical education and healthcare. Unfortunately, new medical faculty (physicians and basic scientists) and other healthcare professions faculty, after years of undergraduate and postgraduate education join medical schools as academic faculty, where they are required to function in academic roles for which they have had little or no preparation. They lose valuable years of their career struggling to grasp the purpose and expectations of their academic career. Even though many new faculty are capable of coping with the stresses and strains of academia and succeed in transitioning from novice status to senior roles, others exit academia, while some experienced mid- and late- career faculty continue to face organizational obstacles which require ongoing learning. The growing complexity of the medical education and healthcare milieux resulting from the 21st century technological advancements, globalization, internationalization and rising demands by stakeholders for value for public and private investments in education and healthcare, has expanded core competency requirements for medical faculty beyond their traditional core mandates of teaching, research and scholarship, patient care and community service. In response to these changing skill sets for physicians, the core competency constructs and operational elements for undergraduate, graduate/residency and physician practitioners continue to evolve and expand but to the exclusion of medical faculty. There is little guidance for academic medical faculty who are expected to prepare future physicians. Core competencies for academic faclty can inform practice, policy and future research on faculty achievement and development. Core competency domains and actionable operational elements can provide clear expectations that can guide faculty recruitment, recognition, evaluation of performance for tenure and promotion, career planning/development, strategic faculty development programs and foster faculty productivity and achievement, career satisfaction and fulfilment, and retention. Published literature is sparse on core competency constructs for medical faculty and available body of evidence vary widely. There is presently no universally accepted or consensus core competencies and competency paradigms that can guide medical faculty in their personal and professional roles except in most instances the traditionally established competencies linked to their institutions mandate of teaching, research, patient care and community service. But there is a general consensus on the need to develop core competency constructs for medical faculty should reflect their multiple roles and responsibilities, their personal and professional development, institutional mission-related roles (teaching, research, service and community service, leadership) as well as emerging competency sets needed to function in the 21st century, an era of technological advancements and globalization. The main goal of this integrative review is to summarize existing published theoretical and empirical research, quantitative and qualitative studies on competencies for medical faculty including primary, secondary and informal resources. Primary resources included reviews of journal articles and citation chasing’ of primary or secondary articles including reviews. Secondary resources included research bibliographies and online databases such as MEDLINE, ERIC, GoogleScholar and Web of Science.; and resource books or publications on core competencies for academic medical faculty and other academic faculty. Our findings showed that existing body of evidence on core competencies taxonomy for medical faculty are sparse and dated, and do not represent their multiple roles and responsibilities. Twelve cross-cutting core competencies widely reported in empirical and theoretical published literature for academic faculty including medical and non-medical faculty were namely: Foundational organizational knowledge, career planning and development, medical education, research and scholarship, clinical expertise and excellence/innovation, community engagement and advocacy, leadership and management, inter-professional collaborative education and practice, informatics and digital literacy, mentorship and peer coaching, role-modeling and reflective practice, and cultural and spiritual competence. This integrative review recommends the application of these core competencies in the development of a core competency framework model for millennial medical faculty but within the limits of this review that was restricted only to resources published in English language. The proposed core competency taxonomy for millennial medical faculty can serve multiple and multilevel application for designing, implementing and evaluating a competency-based curriculum for medical faculty development program, for faculty development needs assessment, for faculty recruitment, for performance appraisals and for curriculum revision and redesign of curriculum across the continuum of medical education.



Yudkowsky, Rachel


Yudkowsky, Rachel


Medical Education

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level


Degree name

MHPE, Master of Health Professions Education

Committee Member

Tekian, Ara Schwartz, Alan

Submitted date

May 2021

Thesis type




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