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Influence of Training Institution on Academic Affiliation and Productivity among Plastic Surgery Faculty in the United States

Gast, Katherine M. M.D., M.S.; Kuzon, William M. Jr. M.D., Ph.D.; Adelman, Eric E. M.D.; Waljee, Jennifer F. M.D., M.S.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: September 2014 - Volume 134 - Issue 3 - p 570–578
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000000476
Special Topics: Original Article
Video Discussion

Background: Educational processes that encourage a career in academic plastic surgery remain unclear. The authors’ study aim was to examine the impact of training institution on the pursuit of a career in academic plastic surgery.

Methods: Academic plastic surgery faculty (n = 838) were identified through an Internet-based search of all 94 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education–accredited residency and fellowship training programs. Academic productivity was determined by number of peer-reviewed publications and Scopus h-index. Linear and logistic regression analyses were performed to determine the correlation between attributes after adjusting for the clustering of surgeons within programs.

Results: In the United States, 39 percent of plastic surgeons in academic practice are trained in only 11 programs, 30 percent of faculty remained at training institutions, and 39 percent were affiliated with a private practice model. Faculty from frequently represented training programs were more likely to pursue fellowship training (OR, 1.32; 95 percent CI, 1.00 to 1.75), have higher h-indices (9.0 versus 5.4; p < 0.001), and have a greater number of peer-reviewed articles (46.6 versus 24.3; p < 0.001). Higher h-indices were correlated with male sex (7.1 versus 4.7; p < 0.001), fellowship training (7.3 versus 6.1; p < 0.05), and no private practice affiliation (5.2 versus 7.8; p < 0.001). Female surgeons represented 14.1 percent of academic plastic surgeons, were younger based on the median year of board certification (2005 versus 2000; p < 0.05), and were more likely to be on the tenure track (66.9 percent versus 57.2 percent; p < 0.05) and at the assistant professor level (73.1 percent versus 43.6 percent; p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Identification of educational processes that encourage a career in academic practice may improve resident mentorship and resident interest in academic plastic surgery.

Video Discussion by Carey F. Campbell, M.D., Scott M. Reis, M.D., and Ajul Shah, M.D., is available online for this article.

Ann Arbor, Mich.

From the Section of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, and the Department of Neurology, University of Michigan Health System.

Received for publication December 19, 2013; accepted March 19, 2014.

Disclosure: The authors have no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this article.

A Video Discussion by Carey F. Campbell, M.D., Scott M. Reis, M.D., and Ajul Shah, M.D., accompanies this article. Go to and click on “Video Discussions” in the “Videos” tab to watch.

Jennifer F. Waljee, M.D., M.S., Section of Plastic Surgery, University of Michigan Health System, 2130 Taubman Center, SPC 5340, 1500 East Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48109-5340,

©2014American Society of Plastic Surgeons