Medical College of Wisconsin
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Attributes of a surgical chairperson associated with extramural funding of a department of surgery. J Surg Res 2013 Dec;185(2):549-54 PMID: 23953785

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BACKGROUND: Chairpersons of surgery departments are key stakeholders and role models and leaders of research in academic medical institutions. However, the characteristics of surgical chairpersons are understudied. This study aimed to investigate the association between the personal academic achievement of a surgical chairperson and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding of the department.

METHODS: We calculated the Hirsch index (H-index), a measure of research productivity, for chairpersons of surgery of the top 90 research medical schools that were ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Specialty training, y as chairperson, location, and NIH institutional and department funding were analyzed. Nonparametric tests and linear regression methods were used to compare the different groups.

RESULTS: Of the 90 chairpersons, 20 positions for chairs (22%) are either recent (<1 y) or unfilled (n = 6). Only 3% of all chairpersons are women, and the median H-index for the chairpersons is 20 (Interquartile range 14-27) with a median 101 publications with 14 cites per publication. Median surgery-specific NIH funding in 2011 was $1.7 million (Interquartile range $721,042-5,085,305). The chairperson's H-index was exponentially associated with department funding in multivariate models adjusting for institution rank, except when the H-index was extreme (<4 or >49) (coefficient 0.32, P = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS: The research productivity of a chairperson is the only personal attribute of those studied that is associated with the departmental NIH funding. This suggests the important role an academically productive surgical leader may play as a champion for the academic success of the department.

Author List

Turaga KK, Green DE, Jayakrishnan TT, Hwang M, Gamblin TC


Thomas Clark Gamblin MD Chief, Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin


2-s2.0-84891670677   4 Citations

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Academic Medical Centers
Biomedical Research
Efficiency, Organizational
Faculty, Medical
National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
Physician Executives
Research Support as Topic
Schools, Medical
Specialties, Surgical
United States
jenkins-FCD Prod-353 9ccd8489072cb19f5b9f808bb23ed672c582f41e