Surgical Resident Research Productivity Over 16 Years

Steven T. Elliott, Eugene S Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: General surgery training has changed over the past decade due to the 80-hour work week and increasing demands on the surgery faculty to generate clinical revenue with ever decreasing reimbursements. The purpose of this study was to evaluate surgery resident productivity over the years and the surgery resident's contribution to clinical and basic research literature. Method: A PubMed literature search of all graduating chief residents (n = 95) over a 16-y period from a single university-based general surgery program were evaluated. Number and types of publications (clinical paper versus basic science paper) were analyzed for each resident. A cohort of residents graduating from the years 1990 to 1996 (n = 42) were deemed the early group and a cohort of residents graduating from the years 1999 to 2005 (n = 41) were deemed the late group. Residents graduating in 1997 and 1998 were deemed the washout group. Results: From 1990 to 2005, there were 95 graduates with 204 published articles. Resident research time ranged from 0 to 2 y, with most residents spending 1 y of research time. In the early group, residents averaged 2.0 ± 0.4 papers versus the late group where each resident published 2.6 ± 0.5 papers (P = NS). In the early group, 24.4% of the papers were basic science in nature as opposed to the late group where 27.7% of the papers were with a basic science topic (P = NS, χ2 analysis). Conclusions: Resident research productivity at a single university-based program with an elective research time does not appear to be deteriorating over time. A majority of research performed by residents is clinically oriented; however. basic science research does not appear to be decreasing. Careful scrutiny to resident research productivity is needed to ensure productive future academic surgeons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-151
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • general surgery
  • residency
  • resident research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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