DOI: 10.1097/gox.0000000000004262 ISSN: 2169-7574

How Important Are Dedicated Research Years and Global Health to Applicants in Plastic Surgery?

Narainsai K. Reddy, Sarah A. Applebaum, James R. Wester, Brian C. Drolet, Jeffrey E. Janis, Arun K. Gosain
  • Surgery
  • General Medicine


Applicant preferences for required research and global surgery experiences during plastic surgery training have not been previously studied.


An anonymous survey was sent to integrated plastic surgery applicants from consecutive residency application cycles (2018–2020). Research and global health experiences before residency were elicited, along with the interest to continue these activities. Data were analyzed using frequency distributions and chi-square test of independence.


Seventy-eight former plastic surgery applicants responded to the survey (15.7% response rate). Most participants (65%) viewed time for research as important when evaluating residency programs. Fewer respondents (10%) ranked programs with a required research year higher, whereas 47% ranked those programs lower and 43% did not factor it into their decision-making. Less than one-third of respondents (28%) reported prior global health experience, yet 44% viewed international opportunities as an important factor when ranking programs, and the majority (72%) stated plans to participate in global surgery during residency. Past experience on a global health trip predicted a strong preference for longer rotations (P = 0.003) and willingness to use vacation time to participate during residency (P < 0.001).


Research was an important consideration in residency selection, but a few preferred a residency program with a dedicated research year. Although applicants had limited experience with global surgery, the majority intended to get involved during residency. Understanding factors that influence applicants’ interests in residency programs may better equip programs with information to create enriching experiences and attract the most qualified applicants.

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