Background: The Ruth L. Kirschstein Institutional National Research Service Award (T32) provides institutions with financial support to prepare trainees for careers in academic medicine. In 1990, the Cardiac Surgery Branch of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) was replaced by T32 training grants, which became crucial sources of funding for cardiothoracic (CT) surgical research. We hypothesized that T32 grants would be valuable for CT surgery training and yield significant publications and subsequent funding. Methods: Data on all trainees (past and present) supported by CT T32 grants at two institutions were obtained (T32), along with information on trainees from two similarly sized programs without CT T32 funding (Non-T32). Data collected were publicly available and included publications, funding, degrees, fellowships, and academic rank. Non-surgery residents and residents who did not pursue CT surgery were excluded. Results: Out of 76 T32 trainees and 294 Non-T32 trainees, data on 62 current trainees or current CT surgeons (T32: 42 vs Control: 20) were included. Trainees who were supported by a CT T32 grant were more likely to pursue CT surgery after residency (T32: 40% [30/76] vs Non-T32: 7% [20/294], P <.0001), publish manuscripts during residency years (P <.0001), obtain subsequent NIH funding (T32: 33% [7/21] vs Non-T32: 5% [1/20], P =.02), and pursue advanced fellowships (T32: 41% [9/22] vs Non-T32: 10% [2/20], P =.02). Conclusions: T32 training grants supporting CT surgery research are vital to develop academic surgeons. These results support continued funding by the NHLBI to effectively develop and train the next generation of academic CT surgeons.
- NIH funding
- cardiothoracic surgery training
- resident research