Barriers to Advancement in Academic Surgery: Views of Senior Residents and Early Career Faculty

Am J Surg. 2013 Nov;206(5):661-6. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2013.07.003. Epub 2013 Sep 4.


Background: A significant faculty attrition rate exists in academic surgery. The authors hypothesized that senior residents and early-career faculty members have different perceptions of advancement barriers in academic surgery.

Methods: A modified version of the Career Barriers Inventory-Revised was administered electronically to surgical residents and early-career surgical faculty members at 8 academic medical centers.

Results: Residents identified a lack of mentorship as a career barrier about half as often as faculty members. Residents were twice as likely as faculty members to view childbearing as a career barrier.

Conclusions: Many early-career faculty members cite a lack of mentors as a limitation to their career development in academic surgery. Childbearing remains a complex perceived influence for female faculty members in particular. Female faculty members commonly perceive differential treatment and barriers on the basis of their sex. Faculty development programs should address both systemic and sex-specific obstacles if academic surgery is to remain a vibrant field.

Keywords: Academic surgery; Career development; Early career.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers*
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Career Mobility*
  • Faculty, Medical*
  • Female
  • General Surgery*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Mentors
  • Prejudice
  • Reproductive Behavior
  • Self Efficacy
  • Sexism
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States