An Evaluation of Research Publications for General Surgery Residents And its Influence on the Future Pursuit of Fellowship or Academic Career

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INTRODUCTION: Traditionally, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) requires residency programs to implement research and other scholarly activities into their training curriculum. Encouraging residents to publish during residency is believed to promote research throughout their careers; however, the rate of research outcomes among general surgery residents remains unknown. Our study aims to determine associated factors that influence publication rates before, during, and after general surgery residency. METHODS: This observational study employed a cross-sectional design. We examined whether research outcomes during general surgery residency was associated with academic advancement or continued research involvement after residency. We identified 321 general surgery residency programs on the Doximity website and randomly selected 50 to include in our sample. Of these programs, graduate rosters for 31 programs were located and subsequently included. Of the 405 residency graduates identified, we recorded the number of peer-reviewed publications, H-indices, fellowships, and whether the graduate pursued a career in private practice or academia. RESULTS: Among the 405 physicians analyzed, 3815 total publications were identified with a mean of 9.4 (SD 11.8) per person. The most reported study design was observational studies (46.5%; 1775/3815) and the least reported was systematic reviews/meta-analyses (1.4%; 52/3815). The number of publications before residency positively correlated with having a higher h-index (r = 0.4). We also found that physicians who completed a fellowship had more publications during residency (mean = 4.7, SD = 6.5) than those not pursuing a fellowship (mean = 1.5, SD = 2.7; t= -4.3. p ≤ 0.001). We observed a statistically significant increase in the likelihood a physician pursued a career in academic medicine if they pursued a fellowship (OR: 3.77, 95% CI: 2.0-7.2) and if they had published research as a primary author (OR 1.25, 95% CI: 1.0-1.5). CONCLUSION: Increased research productivity was associated with continued academic pursuits and an increased likelihood of pursuing fellowship training after residency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-359
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Academic
  • Achievement
  • Fellowship
  • General surgery
  • Publication trends
  • Residents


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