Scholarly Success of Orthopaedic Surgeons Participating in the Clinician Scholar Career Development Program

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Abstract

Background:

A concern exists about the decline in young orthopaedic surgeons pursuing careers as clinician-researchers. One program designed to address this concern is the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons/Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation/Orthopaedic Research Society (AAOS/OREF/ORS) Clinician Scholar Career Development Program (CSCDP). The aims of this study were to better understand the characteristics of CSCDP participants and how the experience effects involvement in career-impacting opportunities and scholarly activity.

Methods:

This study was a retrospective analysis. CSCDP participants from 2003 to 2014 were recorded, and demographic information was collected. An Internet search was utilized to determine each surgeon’s current practice environment. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools Expenditures and Results (RePORTER) database was used to track NIH funding. The OREF and its web site were used to query OREF grant funding. American Orthopaedic Association (AOA) Traveling Fellowship awardees were recorded from the AOA web site. Specialty-specific traveling fellowship awardee information was collected via organization web sites, and direct-contact, scholarly activity, and impact were determined using the Scopus database Hirsch index (h-index).

Results:

Two hundred and thirty-two individuals (229 confirmed current orthopaedic surgeons) participated in the CSCDP. Fifteen (6.6%), 41 (17.9%), 20 (8.7%), and 17 (7.4%) former CSCDP participants have been awarded NIH funding, OREF grant support, AOA Traveling Fellowships, and/or specialty-specific traveling fellowships, respectively. Those involved in any of the career-impactful opportunities post-CSCDP have had higher scholarly activity and impact compared with those who were not involved in the career-impactful opportunities (h-index: 15.9 [standard deviation (SD), 8.1] versus 10.0 [SD, 5.7], p < 0.0001). No scholarly activity and impact differences existed between orthopaedic subspecialties (p = 0.077).

Conclusions:

The CSCDP appears to play an important role in promoting clinician-researcher careers in orthopaedic surgery.

Clinical Relevance:

The CSCDP must continue to adapt to the surrounding health-care landscape to achieve an even better success rate in creating clinician-researchers who will further advance musculoskeletal health and discovery for the betterment of the patients and the profession.

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