Academically Inclined: Predictors of Early Career Trajectory and Avenues for Early Intervention Among Neurosurgery Trainees

M. Maher Hulou, Marian T. Park, Muhammed Amir Essibayi, Christopher J. McLouth, Dimitri Benner, Christopher Ala Samaan, Humberto Jose Madriñán-Navia, Jacob T. Howshar, Christopher S. Graffeo, Michael T. Lawton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The relationship of academic activities before and during neurosurgery residency with fellowship or career outcomes has not been studied completely. OBJECTIVE: To assess possible predictors of fellowship and career outcomes among neurosurgery residents. METHODS: US neurosurgery graduates (2018-2020) were assessed retrospectively for peer-reviewed citations of preresidency vs intraresidency publications, author order, and article type. Additional parameters included medical school, residency program, degree (MD vs DO; PhD), postgraduate fellowship, and academic employment. RESULTS: Of 547 neurosurgeons, 334 (61.1%) entered fellowships. Fellowship training was significantly associated with medical school rank and first-author publications. Individuals from medical schools ranked 1 to 50 were 1.6 times more likely to become postgraduate fellows than individuals from medical schools ranked 51 to 92 (odds ratio [OR], 1.63 [95% CI 1.04-2.56]; P = .03). Residents with ≥2 first-author publications were almost twice as likely to complete a fellowship as individuals with <2 first-author publications (OR, 1.91 [95% CI 1.21-3.03]; P = .006). Among 522 graduates with employment data available, academic employment obtained by 257 (49.2%) was significantly associated with fellowship training and all publication-specific variables. Fellowship-trained graduates were twice as likely to pursue academic careers (OR, 1.99 [95% CI 1.34-2.96]; P < .001) as were individuals with ≥3 first-author publications (P < .001), ≥2 laboratory publications (P = .04), or ≥9 clinical publications (P < .001). CONCLUSION: Research productivity, medical school rank, and fellowships are independently associated with academic career outcomes of neurosurgeons. Academically inclined residents may benefit from early access to mentorship, sponsorship, and publishing opportunities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)854-861
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Congress of Neurological Surgeons 2022. All rights reserved.


  • Academia
  • Fellowship
  • Medical school
  • Neurosurgery
  • Research
  • Residency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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