Does protected research time during general surgery training contribute to graduates' career choice?
A number of general surgery training programs offer a dedicated research experience during the training period. There is much debate over the importance of these experiences with the added constraints placed on training surgeons including length of training, Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education limitations, and financial barriers. We seek to quantify the impact of a protected research experience on graduates of a university-affiliated general surgery training program. We surveyed all graduates of a single university-affiliated general surgery training program who completed training from 1989 to 1999. Data was obtained for 100 per cent of the subjects. Most graduates (72/73; 98.6%) completed a dedicated research experience (range: 1-5 years). Presently, 72.6 per cent (53/73) are practicing academic surgery and 82.5 per cent (60/73) are engaged in research activities. Fifty-one of 73 graduates (69.5%) have current research funding including 32.9 per cent (24/73) with National Institutes of Health funding. Of all graduates, 42.5 per cent (31/73) have become full professors with 20.2 per cent (15/73) division/section chiefs and 14.3 per cent (10/73) department chairmen or vice chairmen. Those trainees achieving a career in academic surgery were statistically more likely to have committed 2 or more years to a protected research experience during training (P < 0.05), fellowship training after general surgery residency (P < 0.01), and a first job at an academic institution upon completion of training (P < 0.001). Understanding the importance of resident research experiences while highlighting critical factors during the formative training period may help to ensure continued academic interest and productivity of future trainees.
Bhattacharya, SD; Williams, JB; de la Fuente, SG; Kuo, PC; Seigler, HF
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