AFMRD has engaged the AAFP’s National Research Network (NRN) to study factors related to program director tenure. Nationally recognized researcher Doug Fernald, BA, MA, and his team from the AAFP National Research Network will be conducting interviews with departing program directors to assess important factors in an IRB approved research study.


The median tenure of a family medicine residency program director is 4.5 years. AFMRD believes it would be useful to better understand why program directors leave their positions. More knowledge about the reasons behind program director departures could inform AFMRD efforts to support and develop programming for program directors and other leaders, which could ultimately improve family medicine residency education.

Additionally, there is a substantial cohort of residency directors who have been in their positions for over 15 years. It is not known what factors have contributed to that longevity. Understanding their experiences may inform development and support standards.

The study will be conducted in two phases as outlined above. It is expected to take 18 months to gather the data and 6 months to analyze the data and submit for publication. Timeline is approximately June 2019 – June 2021.  AFMRD board member Steven R. Brown, MD is co-authoring the study.

Phase I Program Director Recruitment

AFMRD staff will be working to identify members who have recently left their position as program director Contact information from those members willing to participate in a one-hour phone interview will be provided to Doug Fernald, BA, MA and his team. Program directors who have recently left their position or are planning to do so in the next six months should contact Sam Pener (spener@aafp.org or 913-906-6359). 


Questions about this study may be directed to Steven R. Brown, MD (Steven.Brown@bannerhealth.com).