Recommendations on Attaining Departmental Status: A Survey of Division Chiefs Turned Department Chairs

Maheen F. Akhter, Charles A. Keane, Benjamin A. Sarac, Amy M. Moore, Justin M. Sacks, J. Peter Rubin, Jeffrey E. Janis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In 2009, the Association of Academic Chairmen of Plastic Surgery, now known as the American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons (ACAPS), published a white paper endorsing the conversion of plastic surgery divisions into autonomous departments, motioning for other national organizations to follow suit. ACAPS' rationale outlined 11 factors intended to promote the favorability of attaining departmental status within an institution. Through surveying division chiefs turned founding department chairs who successfully executed this transition, we evaluate the practicality and efficacy of these guidelines. A survey was distributed to founding chairs of plastic surgery departments that were established after ACAPS' 2009 white paper. Information pertaining to institutions' demographic information and respondents' utilization of the principles and suggestions espoused in the white paper was obtained. The survey achieved an 86% response rate. The average time needed for the transition was 22 ± 12 months. Four of seven chairs were familiar with the 2009 ACAPS white paper. Garnering support from hospital administrators and institutional stakeholders, having fiscal profitability within the institution, and coordinating an integrated plastic surgery training program were ranked as the top three most important factors, respectively. This study assesses ACAPS' recommendations on transitioning from a division to a department on the basis of perceived utility by academic leaders who recently navigated the process. The most frequently cited factors for a successful transition included rallying support from institutional stakeholders and ensuring profitability. Additionally, aligning the timing with a concurrent transition of leadership can expedite the process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E4700
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 20 2022


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