Academic Plastic Surgery: Faculty Recruitment and Retention

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Background:A critical element of a thriving academic plastic surgery program is the quality of faculty. A decline in recruitment and retention of faculty has been attributed to the many challenges of academic medicine. Given the substantial resources required to develop faculty, academic plastic surgery has a vested interest in improving the process of faculty recruitment and retention.Methods:The American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons Issues Committee and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons/Plastic Surgery Foundation Academic Affairs Council surveyed the 83 existing programs in academic plastic surgery in February of 2012. The survey addressed the faculty-related issues in academic plastic surgery programs over the past decade. Recruitment and retention strategies were evaluated. This study was designed to elucidate trends, and define best strategies, on a national level.Results:Academic plastic surgery programs have added substantially more full-time faculty over the past decade. Recruitment efforts are multifaceted and can include guaranteed salary support, moving expenses, nurse practitioner/physician’s assistant hires, protected time for research, seed funds to start research programs, and more. Retention efforts can include increased compensation, designation of a leadership appointment, protected academic time, and call dilution.Conclusions:Significant change and growth of academic plastic surgery has occurred in the past decade. Effective faculty recruitment and retention are critical to a successful academic center. Funding sources in addition to physician professional fees (institutional program support, grants, contracts, endowment, and so on) are crucial to sustain the academic missions.

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