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Analysis of publication trends in orthopedic residents in relations to academic achievement post-graduation

Carr, Marvin
Anderson, J. Michael
Hobbs, James
Walters, Corbin
Johnson, Austin L.
Vassar, Matt

Background: Continuing Medical Education (CME) is an essential component of physician's careers. For many years the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has required residency programs to promote scholarly activity to obtain and retain accreditation. Many programs interpret this to mean promoting research amongst their members. Encouraging students to publish during residency is believed to promote research throughout their careers, but little information has been collected and analyzed to verify this assumption. This study was undertaken to determine if publishing in peer reviewed journals during orthopedic residencies was an indicator of continued academic achievement post-graduation.

Methods: We examined whether research outcomes during orthopedic residencies indicated academic advancement and continual research. We identified 201 orthopedic residency programs and randomly selected 50 credible programs to include. Of the 298 graduates, we recorded the number of peer-reviewed publications, H-index score, fellowship program and if the graduate is currently working in private practice or an academic setting.

Results: We included 201 orthopedic residency programs in our sample, of those 50 programs were included. A total of 25 (50%) programs provided graduate rosters for 298 residents. Thirty-seven residents (12.5%) had zero publications, 213 residents (80.0%) had 1-5 publications, 36 residents (12.2%) had 6-10 publications, 5 residents (1.7%) had 11-15 publications, 2 residents (0.66%) had 21-25 publications and 3 residents (1.0%) had 26-30 publications. Sixty-eight graduates (of 298, 22.8%) pursued academia and 276 (of 298, 92.6%) pursued a fellowship.

Summary: The results indicate the vast majority of orthopedic residents published in peer reviewed journals complete fellowships. Though over 90% of residents actively pursued research during their medical instruction, less than a quarter chose to pursue academic medicine after completing their residencies. While not many students continued on to teach, nearly three quarters published after completing their programs. Encouraging publications during medical education does appear to promote further academic achievement after graduation, though more commonly as continued research not necessarily institutional academia.