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how do you become a clinical professor?

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by yg1786, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. yg1786

    yg1786 Member 15+ Year Member

    Nov 5, 2002
    so ive been meeting many clinical professors who seem to do mostly just practice, plus a little bit of teaching, and almost no research, yet they seem to still be professors. I've also heard that they're paid higher than normal professors because they do clinical work that brings in money. How hard is it to become a clinical professor at a top school? Is a post-doc required or can one go from a top residency (IM) to a assistant clinical professor position at a similarly top hospital?
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  3. beyond all hope

    beyond all hope Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 18, 2003
    MDs who see patients and also teach are often in the 'clinical' track. We have to publish, teach, and be recognized as experts in our field in order to get promoted just like non-clinical profs.

    Some academic departments, especially those directly associated with med schools, hire anyone who works there at a minimum of Clinical Assistant Professor. All they have to do is hang around to maintain that title. Some make you start at clinical Instructor and work your way up.

    I started as a Clinical Assistant Professor right out of residency, now at my new hospital I have to fight to maintain that title otherwise I go down to clinical instructor.
  4. Methyldopa

    Methyldopa Pharmacopoeia 5+ Year Member

    May 13, 2004
    I know of a few people who do as you've described, only teach and publish seldom if ever (and mostly publish about education rather than research). That route of academia is a tougher road, because unlike the researchers who can easily show their worth via grants, you as solely an educator will have a harder time. You just have to keep a meticulous tab of all the hours you've taught. So that when tenure comes up, you can say, "I put in 10,000 student hours of teaching time for your school."

    But then as you state, if you see enough pts to pay off your salary then the med school would keep you and give you free rein to teach or whatever you may like to do.
  5. mlw03

    mlw03 Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    Aug 15, 2003
    personally, i think it's crap that teaching professors have to struggle at times to keep their jobs. isn't the primary job of a med school to teach future doctors? yet i've heard of faculty who are fantastic teachers, but don't adhere to the publish or perish mantra, that perish. like it's been said, i'd think it matters what school, department, and what they expect for a given title. i know of faculty who only do a few lectures a year, are paid nothing by the school, and get to keep some kind of title while working primarily as a clinician in non-academic settings.
  6. PediBoneDoc

    PediBoneDoc 2+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2007
    St. Louis, MO
    i think every university and specialty is a little different.

    i will say that there are more people who will go the clinical route because the pressure to publish is less. the requirement to produce clinically is greater. most universities need workers, that is really what you are when you go the clinical route. because the departments need to bring in money and grants are harder to come by these days, someone needs to gererate income.

    in the specialties that can gereate high revenue through the clincal practice, they have gone away from the strict "tenure" tracts. it is also even more difficult to get tenure. in the old days, you would work hard until you got tenture, then you slowed down. well departments are cutting the fat. as those tenured profs retire, they are not allowing others to gain that position so if you stop producing, they can get rid of them or decrease their salaries.

    in the traditional universities, the requirements for the medical field are usually like the non medical fields who don't also have a clincal practice. so it require you to spend a lot of extra time working on research and in labs.

    usually the clinical tracts are not looked at as "prestigious," but i think they are becoming more popular even in the high powered universities.
  7. Docxter

    Docxter Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2004
    You have to clarify what you mean by "clinical professor". Do you mean a professor who is in clinical medicine as opposed to basic medical sciences, or are you referring to the titles "Clinical Assistant Professor of...,Clinical Associate Professor of...., Clinical professor of ....."?

    The "Clinical Professor" title series essentially means they are not really part of the medical school system in what you are used to seeing. They have some sort of agreement or adjunct status with the medical school. For example, I remember that there was this private practice in the Maryland/DC area who had an agreement with Johns Hopkins that you could get "Clinical assistant professor" title from Hopkins and really didn't involve much other than letting medical students rotate through your practice. These "Clinical professor" titles are a dime a dozen and only mean that you are not a traditional faculty, but every now and then you help out in the missions of the medical school in one form or the other. Most people in the know are aware that these are semi-bogus university titles, but it works if you want to show off to lay people.

    On the other hand, the real faculty starting with Assistant Professor, then Associate Professor, and finally Professor are standard traditional faculty appointments. Some top medical schools (like Harvard) don't even let people start at the Asisstant Professor leveland they have four levels, the starting level being "Instructor in ...". Then after a few years of clinical work, teaching, research, and publications you may get promoted to "Assistant Professor", in much the same way that at most other medical schools you would have already made "Associate Professor" by the same criteria. It is not unheard of that when people move to Harvard faculty, they get "demoted" by one level for example from full Professor to Associate professor.

    There is also another level of complexity added in the last decade or two in many medical schools. The traditional (real) faculty in clinical specialties can be hired in three or four different "tracks". Different medical schools name them differently, but they are pretty much the same thing with various terminology. One such track is the clinician-educator track (the vast majority of faculty are in some incarnation of this track). It involves clinical work, teaching and some research. There are also research tracks. tenure tracks at the assistant professor level have become exceedingly rare these days. There is also a clinical track which minimizes research requirements but is difficult to get promoted. All these different tracks have different promotion requirements and criteria.
  8. Mumpu

    Mumpu Burninator, MD 5+ Year Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Mlw, the primary job of med schools is obviously to give PhDs with no clinical training a chance to pour the tyranny of their boring-ass worthless bench research on unsuspecting people conned into paying $30,000 a year for what is claimed to be "medical education".
  9. yg1786

    yg1786 Member 15+ Year Member

    Nov 5, 2002
    Thanks for all the responses. Docxter, I want to know a little bit more about the clinician-educator and clinical tracks. To clarify, I actually enjoy research, but do not want to spend the rest of my life writing grant proposals. Is the research paramount to being promoted in these two tracks also? Are these tracks significantly more competitive to break into than the research tracks? I'm asking specifically about IM specialities if that helps.
  10. strangeglove

    strangeglove 7+ Year Member

    Oct 28, 2006
    Check out the academic medicine mentor forum. This is a common question.
  11. LADoc00

    LADoc00 There is no substitute for victory. 10+ Year Member

    Sep 9, 2004
    Best way is to exhibit no business sense whatsoever. Working in academia is an institutional environment like being a public school teacher, policeman or fire fighter just slightly (and I do mean slightly) higher paid.

    You cant really exhibit any individualism, you need to be part of the academic collective...the hive mind. Be the ultimate sycophant. Strive for self flagellation.

    Aim high young lad.
  12. eastcoastyall

    eastcoastyall Wisdom Onslaught 5+ Year Member

    Feb 17, 2007
    Hahahaa! That is so true.
  13. Mumpu

    Mumpu Burninator, MD 5+ Year Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Never mind. I'm not feeding trolls and assholes.

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