Plastic Surgery Research Council (PSRC)
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Resident's Corner
Jorge Lujan-Hernandez, MD

How PSRC can help your application to PRS residency.
The PSRC is a critical stage and opportunity for US/foreign trainees aiming to match in PRS residency. We have asked Dr. Lujan-Hernandez - a PRS resident at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and PSRC member- to share his own experience and some advice.

The PSRC is the prime community of plastic surgery research that joins scientists from different backgrounds with the interest in advancing our field. It has been for many of us the opportunity to "get our feet wet" and understand the current topics in plastic surgery research.

My first PSRC meeting and presentation was at the 2014 event in New York City. One of my most memorable moments was signing up to the conference's basketball tournament and playing alongside Dr. Peter Taub, the president and organizer of the meeting. That basketball game turned out years later into a research collaboration and subsequently into an interview for residency in New York. Similarly, the PSRC social events gave me a chance to meet other important leaders in our field and be mentored about life and surgery. This is just one of many examples of how the PSRC is a phenomenal setting for learning and networking for anyone interested in plastic surgery.

For U.S. medical students, dedicated research time during medical school (anywhere from months to years) has become increasingly popular. The PSRC can be the perfect opportunity to learn more about the different research topics, as well as identify potential labs and mentors to work with. For individuals already on a research pathway, PSRC offers multiple support, such as a Mentorship Program and the Research Fundamentals Workshop, both great events that help connect trainees with mentors and educate on topics such as grant writing, publishing and academic surgery. Lastly, the PSRC has assisted medical students at institutions without a PRS program in networking and meeting residents and faculty members from other nationwide academic PRS programs.

International Medical Graduates (IMG), such as I, represent a significant percentage of the meeting´s attendees, and they benefit enormously from being part of the PSRC too. As reported in our recent study published in the Annals of Plastic Surgery (Lujan-Hernandez J et al. International Medical Graduates and the Integrated Plastic Surgery Residency Match. Ann Plast Surg 2019), plastic surgery research can sometimes become the first contact with US PRS programs, and a potential gateway into the US PRS academic system. In the absence of clinical rotations, research productivity can be a measure of work ethic, commitment to the field and grit, which would otherwise be difficult to assess without direct clinical contact.

Personally, it was through PSRC that I met many of my mentors, as well as colleagues, who had traveled a similar road and who provided valuable advice on matching into PRS residency as an IMG. Similarly, it was at the PSRC where I met many established plastic surgeons, who would later offer help with away rotations, letters of recommendation, and research projects. These connections - ranging from already established surgeon-scientists to peer students at my same level of training – have since then become long-term mentors, friends, and colleagues with whom I continue to stay in touch to these days.

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