Trends in Leadership at Orthopedic Surgery Adult Reconstruction Fellowships

J Arthroplasty. 2020 May 4;S0883-5403(20)30479-4. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2020.04.091. Online ahead of print.


Background: Fellowship directors (FDs) in adult reconstruction have a profound impact on current and future trainees within orthopedics. Our group sought to evaluate the shared characteristics among current adult reconstruction FDs to provide a framework for those aspiring to achieve this position and identify possible areas of improvement.

Methods: Fellowship programs were identified using the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons Directory. Data for each FD were gathered via electronic mail, telephone, curriculum vitae, and online searches. Demographic information collected included age, gender, ethnicity, residency/fellowship training, residency/fellowship graduation year, year hired by current institution, time since training completion until FD appointment, length in FD role, and Scopus H-index.

Results: Information was gathered for 94 FDs. Of these, 100% were males; 80.6% were Caucasian, 12.90% were Asian American, 5.38% were Hispanic, and 1.08% were African American. The average age (52.6 years old), H-index (16.54), year of residency (2000) and fellowship (2001) graduation, and time since training until FD appointment (9.55 years) were analyzed. The top training programs to produce future FDs were Mayo Clinic (residency) and Harvard University (fellowship).

Conclusion: Adult reconstruction FDs are frequently distinguished by their level of research productivity and experience, but certainly more demographic diversity is needed within this cohort. Specific training programs may inherently have a vital role in the development of individuals for future leadership positions. These developments could be a result of unique features inherent to the training programs or because of a subset of applicants who pursue specific programs with aspirations of subsequent leadership opportunities.

Keywords: adult reconstruction fellowship; medical education; orthopedic fellowship; orthopedic leadership; orthopedic surgery.