Purpose For the busy clinician-educator, accessing opportunities that develop the skills and knowledge necessary to perform education research can be problematic. The Medical Education Research Certification at Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors (MERC at CORD) Scholars' Program is a potential alternative. The current study evaluates the program's outcomes after five years. Method The authors employed a quasi-experimental design in this study. The study population consisted of the initial five MERC at CORD cohorts (2009-2013). Development of a logic model informed Kirkpatrick-level outcomes. Data from annual pre/post surveys, an alumni survey (2014), and tracking of national presentations/peer-reviewed publications resulting from program projects served as outcome measurements. Results Over the first five years, 149 physicians participated in the program; 97 have completed six MERC workshops, and 63 have authored a national presentation and 30 a peer-reviewed publication based on program projects. Of the 79 participants responding to the pre- and postsurveys from the 2011-2013 cohorts, 65 (82%) reported significant improvement in skills and knowledge related to education research and would recommend the program. Of the 61 graduates completing the alumni survey, 58 (95%) indicated their new knowledge was instrumental beyond educational research, including promotion to new leadership positions, and 28 (47% of the 60 responding) reported initiating a subsequent multi-institutional education study. Of these, 57% (16/28) collaborated with one or more peers/mentors from their original program project. Conclusions Kirkpatrick-level outcomes 1, 2, 3, and perhaps 4 demonstrate that the MERC at CORD program is successful in its intended purpose.
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