Advanced clinical fellowships are important for training surgeons with a niche expertise. Whether this additional training impacts future academic achievement, however, remains unknown. Here, we investigated the impact of advanced fellowship training on research productivity and career advancement among active, academic cardiac surgeons. We hypothesized that advanced fellowships do not significantly boost future academic achievement.
Using online sources (eg, department webpages, CTSNet, Scopus, Grantome), we studied adult cardiac surgeons who are current faculty at accredited United States cardiothoracic surgery training programs, and who have practiced only at United States academic centers since 1986 (n = 227). Publicly available data regarding career advancement, research productivity, and grant funding were collected. Data are expressed as counts or medians.
In our study, 78 (34.4%) surgeons completed an advanced clinical fellowship, and 149 (65.6%) did not. Surgeons who pursued an advanced fellowship spent more time focused on surgical training (P < .0001), and those who did not were more likely to have completed a dedicated research fellowship (P = .0482). Both groups exhibited similar cumulative total publications (P = .6862), H-index (P = .6232), frequency of National Institutes of Health grant funding (P = .8708), and time to achieve full professor rank (P = .7099). After stratification by current academic rank, or by whether surgeons pursued a dedicated research fellowship, completion of an advanced clinical fellowship was not associated with increased research productivity or accelerated career advancement.
Academic adult cardiac surgeons who pursue advanced clinical fellowships exhibit similar research productivity and similar career advancement as those who do not pursue additional clinical training.
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Published online: July 31, 2020
Accepted: June 15, 2020
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