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J Surg Res. 2018 Mar;223:149-154. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2017.10.024. Epub 2017 Nov 24.

Research during general surgery residency: a Web-based review of opportunities, structure and outputs.

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Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Electronic address:
Office of Strategic Business Development and Partnerships, Jefferson Health, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Division of Minimally Invasive, Metabolic, and Bariatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



Academic research is an integral part of general surgery training. Despite the recent research curriculum requirements of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, there is perceived lack of research structure for residents. The aim of this study was to identify research opportunities, structure, and academic outputs during general surgical United States (US) residency.


A Web-based review of all accredited general surgery US residency programs was undertaken. Individual websites were reviewed for resident research duration, type, and structure. Research outputs, departmental projects, and availability of faculty supervisors were also identified.


Data were available for 242 general surgery residency programs of which 137 (56.6%) offer dedicated research years, ranging from 1 to 4 years, and 30 (12.4%) programs mandate such time as required. One hundred forty-two (58.7%) programs mentioned opportunities in clinical research, 129 (53.3%) in basic sciences, 29 (12.0%) in health services and outcomes-based research, and 15 (6.2%) in education. Advanced degrees were mentioned by 38 (15.7%) programs, the majority being Master of Public Health, Master of Business Administration, or Doctor of Philosophy. Nineteen (7.9%) programs mentioned research structure, mostly qualitative in description. Thirty-four (14.0%) programs provided examples of resident presentations or publications, and 25 (10.3%) mentioned a resident research day. One hundred ninety-nine (82.2%) programs offered a list of faculty supervisors and 129 (53.3%) listed examples of department research projects.


Although research opportunities are ample within surgical US residency training, programs should consider the opportunity to offer varied types of research, with the potential to pursue an advanced degree. Finally, guidelines should be developed with regard to resident research structure, process, and outcomes.


General surgery; Research; Residency; Resident research; Scholarship

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