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, 50 (6), 1049-52

What Does It Take to Be a Successful Pediatric Surgeon-Scientist?


What Does It Take to Be a Successful Pediatric Surgeon-Scientist?

Carey Watson et al. J Pediatr Surg.


Background: The factors that contribute to success as a pediatric surgeon-scientist are not well defined. The purpose of this study is to define a group of NIH-funded pediatric surgeons, assess their academic productivity, and elucidate factors that have contributed to their success.

Methods: Pediatric surgeons were queried in the NIH report database to determine NIH funding awarded. Academic productivity was then assessed. An online survey was then targeted to NIH-funded pediatric surgeons.

Results: Since 1988, 83 pediatric surgeon-investigators have received major NIH funding. Currently, there are 37 pediatric surgeons with 43 NIH-sponsored awards. The mean h-index of this group of pediatric surgeons was 18 ± 1.1, mean number of publications (since 2001) was 21 ± 2.1, and both increase commensurate with academic rank. In response to the survey, 81% engaged in research during their surgical residency, and 48% were mentored by a pediatric surgeon-scientist. More than 60% of respondents had significant protected time and financial support. Factors felt to be most significant for academic success included mentorship, perseverance, and protected time.

Conclusions: Mentorship, perseverance, institutional commitment to protected research time, and financial support are considered to be important to facilitate the successes of pediatric surgeon-scientists. These results will be useful to aspiring pediatric surgeon-scientists and departments wishing to develop a robust research program.

Keywords: NIH; Pediatric surgery; Success; Surgeon–scientist; h-index.

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