The Drivers of Academic Success in Cleft and Craniofacial Centers: A 10-Year Analysis of over 2000 Publications

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Abstract

Background:

Cleft and craniofacial centers require significant investment by medical institutions, yet variables contributing to their academic productivity remain unknown. This study characterizes the elements associated with high academic productivity in these centers.

Methods:

The authors analyzed cleft and craniofacial centers accredited by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association. Variables such as university affiliation; resident training; number of plastic surgery, oral-maxillofacial, and dental faculty; and investment in a craniofacial surgery, craniofacial orthodontics fellowship program, or both, were obtained. Craniofacial and cleft-related research published between July of 2005 and June of 2015 was identified. A stepwise multivariable linear regression analysis was performed to measure outcomes of total publications, summative impact factor, basic science publications, total journals, and National Institutes of Health funding.

Results:

One hundred sixty centers were identified, comprising 920 active faculty, 34 craniofacial surgery fellowships, and eight craniofacial orthodontic fellowships; 2356 articles were published in 191 journals. Variables most positively associated with a high number of publications were craniofacial surgery and craniofacial orthodontics fellowships (β = 0.608), craniofacial surgery fellowships (β = 0.231), number of plastic surgery faculty (β = 0.213), and university affiliation (β = 0.165). Variables most positively associated with high a number of journals were craniofacial surgery and craniofacial orthodontics fellowships (β = 0.550), university affiliation (β = 0.251), number of plastic surgery faculty (β = 0.230), and craniofacial surgery fellowship (β = 0.218). Variables most positively associated with a high summative impact factor were craniofacial surgery and craniofacial orthodontics fellowships (β = 0.648), craniofacial surgery fellowship (β = 0.208), number of plastic surgery faculty (β = 0.207), and university affiliation (β = 0.116). Variables most positively associated with basic science publications were craniofacial surgery and craniofacial orthodontics fellowships (β = 0.676) and craniofacial surgery fellowship (β = 0.208). The only variable associated with National Institutes of Health funding was craniofacial surgery and craniofacial orthodontics fellowship (β = 0.332).

Conclusion:

Participation in both craniofacial surgery and orthodontics fellowships demonstrates the strongest association with academic success; craniofacial surgery fellowship, university affiliation, and number of surgeons are also predictive.

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