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J Surg Res. 2009 Jun 15;154(2):274-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2008.05.027. Epub 2008 Jun 18.

Factors in fellowship selection: effect of services and fellows.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Mississippi School of Medicine, Jackson, Mississippi 39216-4505, USA.



General Surgery residents are increasingly pursuing fellowships. We examine whether perceived subspecialty content, dedicated services, and fellows impact fellowship choices.


Specialty content was assessed through a survey linking 228 operations to 9 content areas. The presence of dedicated services and fellows and the post-residency activities of graduates 1997-2006 were collected from 2 program directors.


A total of 75% of residents (26 University of Mississippi, UM; 22 Vanderbilt University, VU) completed surveys. Five dedicated services and 2 fellowships at UM and VU were identical; VU had an additional 4 services and 3 fellowships. UM and VU residents similarly associated 184 operations (81%) with General Surgery. Agreement was not linked to services or fellows. A total of 44% of UM graduates and 68% of VU graduates pursued fellowships. The top choice at UM was Plastic/Hand (14%, versus 6% VU) and Oncology/Endocrine at VU (19%, versus 2% UM). Differences in specialties selected could not be linked consistently to dedicated services or fellows.


Dedicated services and fellows appear to have little impact on fellowship specialty selection by chief residents. There may be a generic effect of dedicated services favoring fellowship versus no fellowship. Differential faculty mentoring skills may influence specific fellowship choices.

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