Demographics of Surgical Specialty Residency Program Directors in the United States: A Cross-sectional Analysis

Annika Patel, Adam Burton, Shivani Pandya, Michael Venincasa, Steven J. Gedde, Kara M. Cavuoto, Divya Sridhar, Amy Kloosterboer, Jayanth Sridhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate program director (PD) demographics, training background, and academic productivity in 11 surgical specialties. Summary Background Data: There is currently no comprehensive study comparing educational background, research output, and gender differences between PDs of surgical residencies in the United States. Methods: The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) websites were used to identify residency PDs. Age, information related to service as PD, educational background, and research output were collected utilizing online searches including Doximity, PubMed, and Scopus. The ACGME Data Resource Book was used to obtain data on the gender makeup of residents in each surgical specialty. Data collection occurred between December 14, 2019, and May 9, 2020. Results: One thousand five hundred seventy-one residency PDs across 11 surgical specialties were included. Significant differences between specialties were found with respect to PD gender, current age, age at appointment, years between residency and assignment, term duration, number of PubMed publications, and Scopus h-index. The current age (mean ± SD) ranged from 46.8 ± 8.5 years among Interventional Radiology (IR) PDs to 53.4 ± 9.1 years among Neurological Surgery (NEUROSURG) PDs. The proportion of female PDs ranged from 5.9% in NEUROSURG to 63.5% in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-GYN). Completion of a postresidency fellowship was least common for OB-GYN PDs at 9.1% and most common for IR PDs at 98.8%. The number (mean ± SD) of PubMed publications and Scopus h-index ranged from 13.1 ± 22.3 publications and h index 4.5 ± 5.7 among OB-GYN PDs to 112.5 ± 103.0 publications and h index 27.4 ± 16.7 among Thoracic Surgery PDs. Age and academic productivity as measured by PubMed publications and Scopus h-index were significantly lower among female PDs in multiple surgical specialties. Conclusions: There were significant variations in the PDs of surgical specialties, particularly with respect to gender and academic productivity. Efforts should be made to support and encourage greater female representation in the role of surgical residency PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere044
JournalAnnals of surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Medical Education
  • program director
  • residency training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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