Use of a mini-grant program to stimulate generalist training at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center

UMMS Affiliation

Meyers Primary Care Institute; Office of Educational Affairs; Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine; Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Publication Date


Document Type



Curriculum; Education, Medical, Undergraduate; Faculty, Medical; Family Practice; Humans; Massachusetts; Organizational Culture; Program Evaluation; Schools, Medical; *Training Support


Health Services Research | Primary Care


The authors describe and evaluate an annual competitive "mini-grant" program, funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Generalist Physician Initiative established at the University of Massachusetts Medical School as a strategy to stimulate greater faculty involvement in the development of innovative, generalist-oriented projects. The mini-grant program stimulated proposals from across the academic community. The average award was small (mean = $7,039) but at times the awards led to results exceeding the scope of the original funding. In several cases, mini-grant support provided seed funding for faculty to undertake pilot projects to test new initiatives that would otherwise not have been developed. Some projects led to further ideas or to collaborations between generalists and basic scientists or specialists. More than half of funded projects were eventually institutionalized, and nearly 20% led to formal presentations at national meetings. Two problems are identified: (1) there were fewer proposals generated by specialist faculty and fewer collaborative proposals from generalists and specialists than anticipated, and (2) no funded proposals were generated by community-based faculty who were predominantly clinicians, such as preceptors. Despite these problems, and in light of available solutions, the authors conclude that an institutional mini-grant program can provide an ongoing, flexible mechanism to support a shift in institutional culture toward an enhanced status for generalism.


Acad Med. 1999 Jan;74(1 Suppl):S30-5.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID