After completion of training, a physician's training institution has a lasting and meaningful impact on career trajectory. Training program influence on first job placement and academic promotions remain uncertain in academic plastic surgery. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of training and internal bias in academic plastic surgery employment and promotion.
Academic plastic surgery faculty were identified through an internet search of all Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education–accredited residency training programs. Faculty demographics, training background, employment, and leadership status were gathered. The analysis examined the impact of internal recruitment bias on first job employment, the impact of training history on institutional leadership promotion (chair/chief, residency director, or fellowship director), and the impact of alumni effect on academic employment.
A significant proportion of recent graduates (38.6%) are practicing at the same institution as where they received residency or fellowship training. Of the 229 institutional leaders, 31.5% of chairs/chiefs, 39.6% of residency directors, and 37.5% of fellowship directors were internal hires. Overall, 34% of plastic surgery faculty in the United States share a common training program with at least 1 colleague. The top 5 programs that have the most faculty who trained at their hiring institution are Harvard (30 faculty), University of Southern California (15 faculty), University of California Los Angeles (12 faculty), University of Michigan (12 faculty), and Albert Einstein (12 faculty). Overall, 54% of plastic surgery departments employ 2 or more faculty who share a common external training program. The top 5 programs that have the most faculty who share an external training program are (1) Methodist Houston, 8 faculty who trained at Baylor; (2) Hofstra, 7 faculty who trained at New York University; (3) Stanford, 6 faculty who trained at University of California, Los Angeles; (4) Wisconsin, 5 faculty who trained at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; and (5) University of Southern California, 4 faculty who trained at New York University.
The study highlights that an internal bias exists in the recruitment for first jobs and leadership promotions. However, a clear bias of internal hiring exists at several institutions. In addition, an alumni effect was identified, where some programs have a bias of hiring faculty who trained at the same external institution.