Current data on fellowship choice and completion by neurosurgical residents are limited, especially in relation to gender, scholarly productivity, and career progression. The objective of this study was to determine gender differences in the selection of fellowship training and subsequent scholarly productivity and career progression.
The authors conducted a quantitative analysis of the fellowship training information of practicing US academic neurosurgeons. Information was extracted from publicly available websites, the Scopus database, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Open Payments website.
Of 1641 total academic neurosurgeons, 1403 (85.5%) were fellowship trained. There were disproportionately more men (89.9%) compared to women (10.1%). A higher proportion of women completed fellowships than men (p = 0.004). Proportionally, significantly more women completed fellowships in pediatrics (p < 0.0001), neurooncology (p = 0.012), and critical care/trauma (p = 0.001), while significantly more men completed a spine fellowship (p = 0.012). Within those who were fellowship trained, the academic rank of professor was significantly more commonly held by men (p = 0.001), but assistant professor was held significantly more often by women (p = 0.017). The fellowships with the largest mean h-indices were functional/stereotactic, pediatrics, and critical care/trauma. Despite more women completing neurooncology and pediatric fellowships, men had significantly greater h-indices in these subspecialties compared to women. Women had more industry funding awards than men in pediatrics (p < 0.0001), while men had more in spine (p = 0.023).
Women were found to have higher rates for fellowship completion compared with their male counterparts, yet had lower scholarly productivity in every subspecialty. Fellowship choice remains unequally distributed between genders, and scholarly productivity and career progression varies between fellowship choice.