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Purpose: Academic colleague relationships (CRs) promote career development and professional advancement. Some primary care faculty development programs (FDPs) have begun to examine their influence on enrollees' colleague development. Using a nationwide sampling, the authors examined the effects of FDPs on the formation and benefits of enrollees' academic CRs.

Method: The authors conducted a retrospective, cross-sectional study in two phases, each relying on written questionnaires. In phase one, program details and enrollee rosters were provided by directors at FDPs funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, from 1994 through 1997. In phase two, family medicine physicians enrolled during these years provided feedback on their socialization skills and formation of relationships with career-supportive colleagues (mentors, peers, and academic consultants), as well as academic achievements and products these colleagues aid.

Results: Of the 52 directors, 37 (71%) provided FDP information and enrollee rosters. Of the 543 enrollees, 351 (65%) reported initiating or strengthening an average of nine CRs due to program participation: three peers, two mentors, one academic consultant, and three additional colleagues perceived available for future career support. Colleague gains were positively associated with academic socialization. Colleagues actively assisted with academic achievements and products, and provided links to networks of regional and national scholars.

Conclusion: FDPs help enrollees build career-important relationships with peers, mentors, and academic consultants who enhance socialization skills and contribute to academic advancement.

(C) 2002 Association of American Medical Colleges