Increased average number of medical publications per interviewee from 2009 to 2018: A study of 100 interviewees to an academic gastroenterology fellowship program

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BMC Medical Education


© 2019 The Author(s). Background: Gastroenterology fellowship candidates may strive to improve their qualifications for this extremely competitive fellowship. Objective: To analyze whether extreme competitiveness of gastroenterology fellowship positions has affected fellowship interview selection by statistically analyzing 13 parameters of interviewees to identify statistically significant time changes during last 10 years. Methods: Retrospective time-trend-analyses (performed 2018) on thirteen prospectively-obtained-parameters of 47 interviewees (2009-2011) vs. 53 interviewees (2016-2018) for gastroenterology fellowship. SETTING: William-Beaumont-Hospital, Royal-Oak: academic fully-accredited gastroenterology fellowship, teaching hospital of Oakland-University-William-Beaumont-School-of-Medicine, tertiary-care hospital, GI fellowship since 1973. Results: Statistically significant increases occurred from 2009 to 2011 vs. 2016-2018 in number of publications, including mean number of: abstracts (1.69 ± 0.37 vs. 7.54 ± 1.16, p < 0.0001); peer-reviewed articles (1.48 ± 0.30 vs. 6.13 ± 1.29, p < 0.0001); and total publications (3.17 ± 0.48 vs. 12.76 ± 1.99, p < 0.0001). Increased publications were associated with graduating from foreign medical schools (correlation coefficient = 0.26, p =.03), and were, surprisingly, correlated with lower letters-of-recommendation-scores (Kruskal-Wallis-statistic = 5.82, p =.002). USMLE-Step-1 scores significantly increased from 2009 to 2011 to 2016-2018 (235 ± 14.1 vs. 244.9 ± 13.5, p = 0.001) (previously reported finding). Nine other parameters did not significantly change with time. Conclusions: Current report of >four-fold-increase in publications by gastroenterology fellowship interviewees at one academic-medical-center is novel. Increased focus on scholarship by applicants may be explained by their having only three parameters to improve their credentials during residency: publications, letters-of-recommendation, and honors awarded during residency (other parameters determined before residency and immutable). Current findings may benefit medical residents/medical-residency-program-directors by focusing more on publications for applications. Association between research productivity and medical promotions likely strongly motivates medical research of residents and may motivate academic faculty. Increased exposure to research/publications may improve the clinical acumen of GI fellowship applicants by enhancing their skills in critically reading the medical literature.







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