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August 26, 1992

Predictors of Achievement in Academic Medicine

Author Affiliations

University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago

JAMA. 1992;268(8):983. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490080050017

To the Editor.  —I was alarmed to read the article by Brancati et al1 in the March 11, 1992, issue of JAMA. This article represents another entry in the long series of similar studies aiming to identify and employ quantitative and qualitative factors as predictors of "scientific achievement." This particular study associated membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society, rank in the top third of a medical school class, and research experience in medical school as positive predictors of career achievement in academic medicine, as measured by the number of citations to the cohort's published articles. Other indexes of career achievement included full-time faculty appointment, election to the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the like. Several conclusions were derived from the results obtained in this longitudinal study. I was most disturbed by the "explanations" offered for the supposed association between medical school performance and