American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons
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Where Did They End Up? The Impact of a Research Year During Residency on the Professional Paths of Plastic Surgeons
Narainsai K. Reddy, MS1; Sarah A. Applebaum, MD1; Arun K. Gosain, MD1,2
1Ann and Robert H Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA 2Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA

Background: Requiring a research year during plastic surgery residency seeks to increase the presence of plastic surgeons in academia. There are currently five integrated programs that require a research year. Long-term impact on research productivity and academic status following graduation remains unclear. We investigated the impact of a required research year on research productivity and graduating residents entering academic medicine.
Methods: We used Scopus and Web of Science to collect publication records and H indexes and noted academic statuses from public profiles of residents graduating from 2011-2020 from two programs with and without a required research year (n = 19 and n = 28, respectively). The control program was selected based on similar Doximity reputation rankings. We utilized paired and unpaired t-tests to compare H indexes and research productivity of residents at various time periods. We analyzed the academic status of residents using a difference of proportions Z score test.
Results: The number of total publications and number of publications during residency from the research year program (µ = 43.8 and µ = 27.5, respectively) are significantly greater than those from the traditional program (µ = 19.5 and µ = 9.9, respectively) (p < 0.01; Table 1). However, there is no statistical difference between programs in number of publications outside of residency. In fact, within the research year program, there was a significant decrease in publications outside of residency, indicating the majority of total publications were produced during residency (p < 0.01). We found the average H index of residents from the research year program is significantly greater (H ?= 12.8 and 7.1, respectively) implying more impactful research (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in the proportion of residents choosing academic versus non-academic careers within or between institutions.
Conclusion: A research year during residency has little influence on future research productivity and academic status. However, the higher H index from the research year program suggests the research has a greater impact on advancing the plastic surgery field than on residents’ career paths. Further efforts are needed to inspire careers in academic medicine, thereby sustaining research productivity.

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