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Status of Obstetric Anesthesiology Fellowship Research Education in North America: A Survey of Fellowship Program Directors
Abstract Number: F-56
Abstract Type: Original Research
Introduction: Very little information is known regarding the research education of obstetric anesthesia fellows. The main objective of the current investigation was to evaluate the status of research training in obstetric anesthesia fellowship programs in North America.
Methods: Survey responses were solicited from 46 obstetric anesthesia fellowship directors in the United States and Canada. The list of fellowship program directors was obtained from the SOAP website and those who attended fellowship directors meeting at the 2013 SOAP meeting. Questions evaluated department demographic information, faculty research activity, departmental research resources and funding, the characteristics of fellow research education and fellow research productivity, departmental support for fellow research, and perceived barriers to fellow research education.
Results: Thirty-six of 46 fellowship directors (78%) responded to the survey. Seventeen of the responding programs are ACGME accredited (47%). Fifty-three percent of programs provide a structured research curriculum for obstetric anesthesia fellows. Fellows in programs with a structured research curriculum spend an average of 2.26 (SD 1.28) months pursuing research compared with 2.81 (SD=1.64) months for fellows in programs lacking a structured research curriculum (P=0.28). Over the past two years, fellowship programs utilizing a structured curriculum published a mean of 3.2 (SD 2.6) manuscripts in a peer-reviewed journal with a fellow as any author compared with 3 (SD 2.4) manuscripts in programs that did not have a structured curriculum (P=0.89). While many program directors disagreed (10 out of 36 (28%)) or were neutral (11 out of 36 (30%)) in response to the statement that “upon graduation fellows are adequately trained to pursue research activities,” only a minority of program directors (3 out of 36 (8%)) thought an extra year of fellowship dedicated to research should become a requirement. Twenty-eight of 36 program directors (78%) agreed that research activity should be required for graduation from obstetric anesthesia fellowship. Important barriers to fellows’ research education identified by the fellowship directors included high clinical demands, lack of funding and technical support as well as lack of research time for faculty.
Conclusion: A structured research curriculum is not associated with increased dedicated research time or improved research productivity in obstetric anesthesia fellowship programs. Current ACGME accreditation for obstetric anesthesia fellowship mandates 3 months of dedicated research time and a formal research curriculum. A future study should examine if, over time, these requirements are associated with increased fellow research productivity.