Medical school and residency influence on choice of an academic career and academic productivity among neurosurgery faculty in the United States

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Factors determining choice of an academic career in neurological surgery are unclear. This study seeks to evaluate the graduates of medical schools and US residency programs to determine those programs that produce a high number of graduates remaining within academic programs and the contribution of these graduates to academic neurosurgery as determined by h-index valuation.


Biographical information from current faculty members of all accredited neurosurgery training programs in the US with departmental websites was obtained. Any individual who did not have an American Board of Neurological Surgery certificate (or was not board eligible) was excluded. The variables collected included medical school attended, residency program completed, and current academic rank. For each faculty member, Web of Science and Scopus h-indices were also collected.


Ninety-seven academic neurosurgery departments with 986 faculty members were analyzed. All data regarding training program and medical school education were compiled and analyzed by center from which each faculty member graduated. The 20 medical schools and neurosurgical residency training programs producing the greatest number of graduates remaining in academic practice, and the respective individuals' h-indices, are reported. Medical school graduates of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons chose to enter academics the most frequently. The neurosurgery training program at the University of Pittsburgh produced the highest number of academic neurosurgeons in this sample.


The use of quantitative measures to evaluate the academic productivity of medical school and residency graduates may provide objective measurements by which the subjective influence of training experiences on choice of an academic career may be inferred. The top 3 residency training programs were responsible for 10% of all academic neurosurgeons. The influence of medical school and residency experiences on choice of an academic career may be significant.

Abbreviations used in this paper: ACGME = Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education; WOS = Web of Science.
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Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to: John K. Ratliff, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, 909 Walnut Street, 2nd Floor, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107. email: include this information when citing this paper: published online April 15, 2011; DOI: 10.3171/2011.3.JNS101176.
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