What does it take to be A successful pediatric surgeon-scientist?

Carey Watson, Alice King, Shaheel Mitra, Aimen F. Shaaban, Allan M. Goldstein, Michael J. Morowitz, Brad W. Warner, Timothy M. Crombleholme, Sundeep G. Keswani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: The factors that contribute to success as a pediatric surgeon-scientist are not well defined. The purpose of this study is to define a group of NIH-funded pediatric surgeons, assess their academic productivity, and elucidate factors that have contributed to their success. Methods: Pediatric surgeons were queried in the NIH report database to determine NIH funding awarded. Academic productivity was then assessed. An online survey was then targeted to NIH-funded pediatric surgeons. Results: Since 1988, 83 pediatric surgeon-investigators have received major NIH funding. Currently, there are 37 pediatric surgeons with 43 NIH-sponsored awards. The mean h-index of this group of pediatric surgeons was 18 ± 1.1, mean number of publications (since 2001) was 21 ± 2.1, and both increase commensurate with academic rank. In response to the survey, 81% engaged in research during their surgical residency, and 48% were mentored by a pediatric surgeon-scientist. More than 60% of respondents had significant protected time and financial support. Factors felt to be most significant for academic success included mentorship, perseverance, and protected time. Conclusions: Mentorship, perseverance, institutional commitment to protected research time, and financial support are considered to be important to facilitate the successes of pediatric surgeon-scientists. These results will be useful to aspiring pediatric surgeon-scientists and departments wishing to develop a robust research program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1049-1052
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • NIH
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Success
  • Surgeon-scientist
  • h-index


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