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J Vasc Surg. 2012 May;55(5):1509-14; discussion 1514. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2011.11.141. Epub 2012 Mar 21.

Factors affecting career choice among the next generation of academic vascular surgeons.

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  • 1Division of Vascular Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA.



Few studies have examined factors that influence an individual's decision to enter an academic medical career after residency training. We sought to evaluate whether sex, ethnicity, child care issues, and debt burden influenced residents' choice for a career in academic vascular surgery.


A 39-item Web survey, designed to elucidate which factors motivated residents to seek a career in academic vascular surgery, was sent to 295 vascular surgery residents currently enrolled in Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education-accredited training programs.


A total of 128 responses (43%) were received. Of these, 53% of respondents were white and 47% were nonwhite and 34 (27%) were women and 94 (73%) were men. Fifty-seven percent of minorities anticipate a career in academic vascular surgery. There were no statistical differences between sex and ethnicity for factors influencing career choice, including training paradigm, presence of a life partner or dependents, mentorship role, participation in research, service, and teaching, anticipated salary, and debt burden (P > .05). Seventy-seven percent of respondents carry significant debt; of those with debt, 81% owe >$100,000 and 40% owe >$200,000. Seventy-three percent of 0+5 trainees anticipated choosing an academic practice compared with 42% of 5+2 trainees (P < .01). Respondents planning an academic career cited procedural variation, breadth and depth of practice/tertiary referral experience, and research opportunities as the most important drivers of career choice. Income potential, strength of the job market, and child care needs were deemed less important.


This study shows that academic vascular surgery is a popular career option for current vascular surgery trainees, especially those in 0+5 programs. Choosing a career in academic vascular surgery appears not to be influenced by sex, ethnicity, child care concerns, salary expectations, or debt burden, even though most trainees carry enormous debt. The data imply future academic vascular surgeons will likely have greater gender and ethnic variability than is currently seen.

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