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Analysis in Brief

Analysis in Brief presents recent findings from the AAMC's data collection and research activities in a concise, easy-to-read report. Published several times a year, it addresses a wide range of topics and trends that affect medical schools and teaching hospitals.

The Redistribution of Tenure Tracks for U.S. Medical School Faculty: Clinical MD Faculty (Part I)

U.S. medical schools and their faculty have faced dramatic changes in the work environment over the past decades, including the effects of changes to reimbursement practices and health care delivery, tightened institutional budgets resulting in increased pressure to generate clinical revenue and fewer resources for education, and exceptional competition for federal research funding. Medical schools have adapted to these environmental changes by continually refining their appointment and tenure policies for their faculty. Given this context and extending previous research, Part I of this Analysis in Brief presents a current snapshot of tenure systems and trends in the number and percentage of full-time clinical MD faculty on tenure-eligible tracks. Results show that  tenure systems remain established in the majority of accredited medical schools, with 94 percent currently having a tenure appointment system in place for at least some of their faculty.  Although tenure systems remain common, full-time MD faculty in clinical departments, a substantial redistribution of tenured and nontenured faculty has occurred. The proportion of clinical faculty on tenure-eligible tracks has dropped from 59 to 26 percent in the time period 1984 to 2014. While absolute numbers of tenured or tenure-eligible clinical faculty increased slightly through the mid-1980s, the numbers plateaued and have remained steady for the past two decades. These results show that most medical schools have not increased the absolute number of tenure-eligible positions for clinical MD faculty, but that those existing tenure-eligible positions are not being eliminated. 

Supplemental Information

No supplemental information for this edition of Analysis in Brief.

Related Resources

AAMC Faculty Roster