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J Surg Res. 2001 Jun 15;98(2):71-5.

Factors affecting choice of surgical residency training program.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of California at Davis Medical Center, 2221 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento, California, 94817-1418, USA.



A significant problem facing American surgery today is the lack of participation from women and minorities. In 1995 and 1996, 15.1 and 15.8% of United States general surgical residency graduates were women. Of our 71 graduates in the last 12 years, 38% were women. The aim of this study was to identify the factors influencing our residents' choice of training program and the reasons why our program has a high percentage of female graduates.


Between 1989 and 2000, 27 women and 44 men completed general surgical training at our university and 44/71 (59%) responded to our survey. The age at residency completion was 34 +/- 2.2 years for men and 33.9 +/- 2.8 years for women. Fifty-five percent of men and 30% of women went on to fellowship training; and 36% of men and 20% of women are in academia.


Factors influencing our graduates' selection of training program are: Only 23% of men had a female faculty as their mentor, whereas 90% of women had a male faculty as their mentor during training. Only 59% of men but 80% of women (P < 0.05) agreed that female medical students need role models of successful female faculty members. Fifty-five percent of men and 45% of women would encourage a female medical student to choose surgery as a career, but 82% of men and 50% of women would encourage a male medical student to do so. Ninety-one percent of men and 85% of women would choose surgery as a career again.


A surgical residency training program with strong leadership, good clinical experience, and high resident morale will equally attract both genders. Women may pay more attention to the program's gender mix and geographic location.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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