American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons
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Master's Degrees Among Plastic Surgery Residents: Does it Impact Scholarly Productivity?
Malke Asaad, MD1; Rami Elmorsi2; Omar Badawi2; Jesse Selber, MD, MPH, MHCH1; Mark W. Clemens, MD1; Anaeze Offodile, MD, MPH1; Charles E. Butler, MD1
1Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA, 2Mansoura University, Faculty of Medicine, Dakahlia, Egypt

Background: The number of plastic surgery residents (PSRs) pursuing a masterís degree prior to or during residency is increasing. However, the percentage of those with a masterís degree and the impact on the candidateís academic productivity as a surrogate for potential future performance has not been previously evaluated.
Methods: We searched the websites of ACGME-accredited integrated plastic surgery residency programs to identify the names and degrees of current PSRs. The number of publications, citations, and H-index was extracted from the Elsevier Scopus bibliographic database. We also assessed the gender of the included residents and whether they graduated from an international medical school (IMGs).
Results: We identified a total of 948 PSRs (58% males and 42% females), out of whom 7.2% had a masterís degree. The three most commonly identified masterís degrees were Master of Science (MS) held by 3.7%, Master of Public Health (MPH) by 1.6%, and Master of Business Administration (MBA) held by 1.7% of included residents. More IMGs had a masterís degree compared to US graduates (17% vs. 7%, p=0.04) while no difference was identified between males and females (7% vs. 8%, p=0.5). PSRs with MS had a significantly higher median number of publications (6 vs. 3, p=0.009), citations (28 vs. 10, p=0.038), and H-index (3 vs. 1, p=0.035) compared to PSRs without MS. However, PSRs with MPH and MBA did not have higher scholarly productivity compared to PSRs without the latter two degrees as shown in Table 1.
Conclusion: Seven percent of PSRs have a masterís degree with no gender differences between the different masterís groups. PSRs with MS had a higher number of publications, citations, and H-index compared PSRs without MS. However, MPH and MBA were not associated with a higher level of academic productivity. A masterís degree may have contributed to the successful application of international candidates. MPH and MBA might have an impact on other aspects of academic development such as clinical trial development, leadership skills, and business acumen which should be assessed in future studies.

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