Background: The Association for Surgical Education established the Center for Excellence in Surgical Education Research and Training (CESERT) program in 1999 to support innovative research and education projects and programs that will advance surgical education. We sought to examine scholarly outcomes of the projects during the first 15 years of the program.
Methods: E-mail surveys were sent to the 24 researchers who were awarded CESERT grants. Data collection focused on recipient professional experiences, publications, and presentations stemming from CESERT-funded research and impact on career development. For grant recipients who were unable to complete the survey, we obtained publication information on studies authored by the grant recipients that described the same grant-funded topic, described similar methods, and fell within the study timeline.
Results: Complete survey data were obtained from 18 of the 24 grant recipients. Grants were most commonly awarded to General Surgeons (40%) and Education and Psychology PhDs (24%). Overall, 23 of the 25 projects had reached completion at the time of contact, and from these, 70 articles were published or in press. Abstract presentations were more common, with respondents documenting 84 projects locally, nationally, and internationally. Grant awards ranged from $8,122 to $97,000, with an average of $39,026. In total, the Association for Surgical Education Foundation distributed $988,000 in grant funding from 1999 to 2013. Respondents reported that CESERT funding was critical to their career as it legitimized their pursuit of educational research, helped them establish multidisciplinary and multi-institutional collaborations, provided greater visibility for their research, and helped them develop an understanding of educational principles and grant writing skills.
Conclusions: Overall, the CESERT program has produced remarkable results. The careful review process and monitoring protocol have ensured that high-potential studies are funded and successful. These data support continued efforts to garner resources such that CESERT grants may be awarded to fund high-quality, high-impact projects.
Keywords: CESERT; Grants; Surgical education.
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