American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons
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A Descriptive Analysis of Integrated Plastic Surgery Program Directors
Alexa Hughes, BS1, Thomas Samson, MD2, Cathy Henry, MD2, Timothy Shane Johnson, MD2
1Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA, USA, 2Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, The Pennsylvania State University, Hershey PA, USA

Background: The role gender plays in surgical leadership positions is heavily discussed in the literature, however there is an absence of research looking at plastic surgery program director (PD) demographics and the differences between male and female PDs.
Methods: A cross sectional study of publicly available online resources of all integrated plastic surgery residency programs was performed. Demographic and academic data of integrated plastic surgery PDs was analyzed focusing on the differences in PDs based on gender.
Results: 82 integrated plastic surgery residencies were analyzed. 15 PDs (18.3%) were female. 56 (68%) PDs completed general surgery residencies, while 24 (29%) completed an integrated plastics residency. All female PDs were fellowship trained while only 46 (68%) male PDs pursued additional training after residency (p=0.02). Research output amongst male PDs was greater with 49.9 publications and a higher average H-index, at 13.3, compared to women with an average of 27.5 publications (p=0.008) and an H-index of 8.7(p=0.02). When comparing male to female PDs, there was no difference between age at PD appointment (p=0.15), or in the amount of time between completion of plastic surgery training to PD appointment (p=0.29). Male PDs were older (52.2) compared to female PDs (46.5) (p=0.02). Male PDs served longer terms (4.98 years) than females (2.87 years) (p=0.003).
Conclusion: The majority of integrated plastic surgery PDs are male with an M.D. who completed a general surgery residency and a plastic surgery fellowship. Most PDs also completed fellowship in a plastic subspecialty. Male PDs had higher research output, which may be attributed to their older age on average. Although females make up only 18.3 % of plastic surgery PDs, this percentage is similar to the 17.2% of active female plastic surgeons in the U.S. As more women train in plastic surgery, it is possible that the percentage of females serving academic leadership roles, will increase. By gaining a better understanding of the demographics and diversity in plastic surgery residency program leadership, efforts can be made to increase the representation of minority groups in academic leadership roles.


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