Impact of Sub-Specialty Fellowship Training on Research Productivity among Academic Plastic Surgery Faculty in the United States
Aditya Sood, MD, MBA, Paul J. Therattil, MD, Stella Chung, BA, Mark S. Granick, MD, Edward S. Lee, MD.
Rutgers University - New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, USA.
Purpose: The impact of sub-specialty fellowship training on research productivity among academic plastic surgeons is unknown. The authors’ aim of this study was to (1) describe the current fellowship representation in academic plastic surgery and (2) evaluate the relationship between h-index and sub-specialty fellowship training by experience and type.
Methods: Academic plastic surgery faculty (n = 590) were identified through an internet-based search of all ACGME-accredited integrated and combined residency programs. Research output was measured by h-index from the Scopus database as well as number of peer-reviewed publications. Kruskal-Wallis with subsequent Mann-Whitney U-test was used for statistical analysis to determine correlations.
Results: In the United States, 72% (n = 426) of academic plastic surgeons had trained in one or more sub-specialty fellowship program. Within this cohort, the largest group had completed multiple fellowships (28%), followed by hand (23%), craniofacial (22%), microsurgery (15%), research (8%), cosmetic (3%), burn (2%), and wound healing (0.5%). Higher h-indices correlated with a research fellowship (12.5; p<0.01) and multiple fellowships (10.4; p<0.01). Craniofacial trained plastic surgeons demonstrated the next highest h-index (9.8), followed by: no fellowship (8.4), microsurgery (8.3), hand (7.7), cosmetic (5.2), and burn (5.1).
Conclusion: Plastic surgeons with a research fellowship or at least two sub-specialty fellowships had increased academic productivity compared to their colleagues. In this study, we show that the type and number of fellowships influence the h-index, and further identification of such variables may help improve academic mentorship and productivity within academic plastic surgery.
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