Relationship of a Second Professional Degree to Research Productivity of General Surgery Residents

Puja M. Shah, Brandy L. Edwards, Zachary C. Dietch, Robert G. Sawyer, Anneke T. Schroen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective Many general surgery residents interrupt clinical training for research pursuits or advanced degrees during dedicated research time (DRT). We hypothesize that time required to obtain a second degree during DRT decreases resident publication productivity. Design, Setting, and Participants All consecutive categorical general surgery residents at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, graduating in 2007 to 2016 were evaluated. PubMed queries identified journal publications for residents during and after DRT, limited to 1 year postgraduation. DRT varied between 1 and 3 years and was standardized by dividing publication number by DRT plus remaining clinical years and 1 postgraduation year. Median publications were compared between residents by receipt of a second degree. Results Thirty-six residents were eligible for analysis. Of these, 8 obtained a Masterʼs in Clinical Research, 3 received Master of Public Health, and 1 completed a Doctorate of Philosophy. Publications ranged from 2 to 76 for degree residents and 1 to 36 for nondegree residents. For the 12 degree residents, median publication number per year was 3.8 (interquartile range: 2.3, 5.2) compared to 2.6 (interquartile range: 1.6, 3.5) in residents not pursuing a postdoctoral degree (p = 0.04). There was no significant difference in median number of first and second author publications by degree status. Conclusion More publications per year were seen among residents earning a second degree, with a statistically significant difference between residents obtaining postdoctoral degrees during DRT compared with their counterparts. Our study demonstrates that residents pursuing a second degree are not hindered in their publication productivity despite the time investment required by the degree program. Additional research is needed to determine whether formal research training through a second degree corresponds to sustained scholarly productivity beyond residency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-130
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • postgraduate degree
  • publication productivity
  • resident research
  • surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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