Trends in leadership at shoulder and elbow fellowships: a cross-sectional demographic review

Eric J. Sanders, Scott A. Wu*, Alexander J. Neuville, Peter R. Swiatek, Erik B. Gerlach, Matthew D. Saltzman, Guido Marra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine educational characteristics, trends, and demographics among shoulder and elbow fellowship leaders (FLs). Background: Fellowship leaders in shoulder and elbow impart lasting impact on trainees and field development. Four previous studies have analyzed the characteristics and career path trends among orthopedic surgery subspecialty FLs (spine, adult reconstruction, trauma, and sports medicine). We characterized the educational backgrounds and demographic composition of all 40 FLs including fellowship directors (FD), fellowship co-directors (co-FD), and associate fellowship directors (associate FD) of 31 American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES)-accredited shoulder and elbow fellowships in the United States. We additionally compiled the residency and fellowship institutions that trained FLs as framework for aspiring leaders in orthopedic surgery. Methods: Using the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) directory website page “ASES-Recognized Shoulder and Elbow Fellowship Programs,” we identified all active shoulder and elbow fellowships within the United States as well as associated FL identifiers. Compiled data points include age, sex, ethnicity, residency/fellowship training location, time since education completion until FL appointment, length in FL role, personal research Scopus H-index, and major society and journal leadership position history. Results: We analyzed data from all 40 active FLs across 31 ASES-accredited shoulder and elbow fellowships, encompassing 26 FDs, 13 co-FDs, and 1 associate FD. The majority of FLs (97.5%) were male whereas 2.5% were female, with racial/ethnic identification of 80.0% Caucasian, 10.0% Asian/Pacific Islander, and 10.0% Middle Eastern. The mean Scopus H-index of the FLs was 24.63 ± 16.43. The top residency programs for producing future FLs were the University of Pittsburgh, University of Pennsylvania, University of Nebraska/Creighton, Hospital for Special Surgery, and Brown University (all n = 2). The top fellowship programs for producing future FLs were Mayo Clinic (n = 6), Columbia University (n = 6), San Francisco/California Pacific (n = 4), and Washington University in St Louis (n = 4). Conclusion: Shoulder and elbow fellowship leaders graduate with increased frequency from certain fellowship programs with lesser correlation to residency institutions. Programs demonstrate high retention of prior trainees as future FLs. All FLs are distinguished by high indices of research productivity; however, demographic diversity remains limited, which is comparable to prior orthopedic subspecialty FL investigations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e92-e100
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Internet-Based
  • Medical education
  • Survey Study
  • orthopedic fellowship
  • orthopedic leadership
  • orthopedic surgery
  • shoulder and elbow fellowship
  • shoulder and elbow surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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