Plastic Surgery Research Council

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Leadership In Plastic Surgery
Carolyn P. Murphy, BA, Alexander G. Stavros, BA, Francesco M. Egro, MD, MSc, MRSC, Brandon T. Smith, MS, Vu Nguyen, MD.
UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH SOM, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Purpose: The pathway to leadership in plastic surgery remains uncertain, but it is thought that exceptional training represents a key to success. Studies have shown that 39% of academic plastic surgeons have been trained by the same 10 programs in the US (Kuzon et al, 2014), which demonstrates that institutional training is integral to establishing a career in academic plastic surgery. However, the impact of training on the development of leadership skills remains unclear. The present study aims to determine the relationship between training and leadership within the field of plastic surgery. 
Methods: First, a cross-sectional study was conducted in June 2018 to examine the demographics and training background of plastic surgery faculty currently holding leadership positions within academic programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The data was gathered from institutional websites. Second, a retrospective review was conducted in July 2018 to examine the demographics and training background of the current and past presidents of leading plastic surgery societies (American Association of Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Plastic Surgery Foundation, and Plastic Surgery Research Council). The data was gathered from society websites and other electronic media. Frequencies were calculated to determine the number of leaders who trained at each institution during either their plastic surgery residency or fellowships.
Results: Among the 287 institutional leaders (112 chairs or chiefs, 109 residency directors, and 66 fellowship directors) 90 training programs were identified that contributed to their training. However, the top ten training programs accounted for 41% of the residencies and fellowships individuals received. The top five leadership producing programs among current institutional leaders were University of Pittsburgh, Johns Hopkins University, New York University, University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard Medical School respectively. A similar trend emerged in the second data set of current and past leaders of academic societies. Among the 230 past presidents and chairpersons across all four societies, 51 training programs were identified and of those the top ten accounted for 51% of training received. The top five institutions were Johns Hopkins University, Duke University, Harvard Medical School, Washington University in St. Louis, and University of Pennsylvania respectively.
Conclusions: This study indicates that a small cohort of institutions produces a large portion of the leaders within the field of plastic surgery. In addition, across the two data sets, the top eight leadership producing institutions remained constant, suggesting that these elite programs have consistently fostered an aptitude for leadership among their trainees.


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