Diving Under the SuRRFace: Achieving More Than Just Compliance with ACGME Scholarly Activity Mandate

J Surg Educ. 2021 Nov-Dec;78(6):e86-e92. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2021.06.006. Epub 2021 Jul 6.


Objective: To determine if building a digital technology supported infrastructure improves general surgery residents' confidence to conduct clinical research.

Design: We developed and introduced a multimodal virtual Surgery Resident Research Forum (SuRRF) in July 2019. An anonymized survey asked residents to rate their confidence using a five-point Likert scale in various fields pre- and post-intervention. Fields included: finding a research mentor, developing a project, conducting research, performing an effective literature search, navigating internal and external resources, and ability to complete a research project.

Setting: Northwell Health - North Shore University Hospital / Long Island Jewish Medical Center: academic tertiary care centers.

Participants: All 58 residents in our general surgery program, including research residents, were eligible to participate in our study.

Results: Survey response rate was 55% (28 clinical residents, 4 research fellows). Post-implementation of SuRRF, all respondents (PGY1-5) reported an increase in awareness of abstract/conferences submission deadlines (2.34 ± 1.1 pre- vs. 3.75 ± 1.1 post-implementation, p = 0.004) and ability to navigate institutional electronic medical information library resources (2.2 ± 1.0 pre- vs. 3.62 ± 1.2 post-implementation, p = 0.000). Junior residents (PGY1-3) had improvement in all areas except for finding a mentor and improving their confidence with literature review.

Conclusions: Creation of a resident-led virtual laboratory infrastructure increases participation, improves perception of research abilities, and improves attitudes towards performing clinical research among general surgery residents. Future research will follow the impact of this virtual laboratory on publications and grants.

Keywords: Interpersonal and Communication Skills; Medical Knowledge; Systems-Based Practice; research forum; scholarly activity; surgical education; surgical residency; virtual laboratory.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Diving*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • General Surgery* / education
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Mentors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires