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The Academic Scholar Award of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons: The First Twenty Years
Walter Sweeney, M.D.1, Paul Cederna, M.D.2, Adam Katz, M.D.3, Andrew Lee, M.D.4, Joseph Losee, M.D.5, Peter Rubin, M.D.5, Arun Gosain, M.D.1.
1Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA, 2University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA, 3University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA, USA, 4Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA, 5University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
PURPOSE: The present study evaluates the 20-year history of the Academic Scholar Award of the AAPS from inception in 1992 through 2012. This review is essential to the membership of the AAPS in assessing the value of the program and in justifying future investment into its development.
METHODS: Each of the 18 Academic Scholars who completed their award by 2012 were contacted to provide a current CV and information on individuals they had mentored. Data were separated into 5 year blocks from completion of the award to the present.
RESULTS: Award Recipients have produced 589 grants for an average of 33 grants per recipient. 69 of these grants are currently active, with the recipient serving as PI in 61 of these grants. Current active funding is $68,000,000. Recipients average 3.7 active grants per person with a value of $3,800,000 per grant. The average number of grants peaks at 5-10 years after award completion (n=58) and declines slightly to 42 at 10-15 years following award completion. However, during this time the total amount of grant money generated by each recipient increases from $956,667 to $8,100,000, suggesting that senior academic surgeons are involved as mentors on fewer grants with larger monetary rewards. Recipients produced 2378 peer-reviewed articles, with productivity highest 5-10 years after award completion (n=236). Recipients have mentored 341 individuals, with each recipient mentoring an average of 18 individuals. 42 of those mentored have entered academics, and 32 have received extramural funding. Most importantly, the careers of the academic scholars consistently demonstrated shifts to a mentorship role with progression of their careers, as demonstrated by i) increased no. of grants per person in any role relative to that as a PI (Graph 1); ii) increased grant funding per person in any role relative to that as PI (Graph 2); iii) steady increase in the median number of senior author publications relative to first author publication (Graph 3); iii) mentorship activities and the subsequent accomplishment of those mentored by the academic scholars (Graph 4).
CONCLUSION: The present review confirms that the AAPS Academic Scholar program has fulfilled its mission based on i) the academic careers of the scholars; ii) transition to mentorship roles as these careers progressed; iii) the cost-benefit ratio of the AAPS investment. For every $1 invested the average recipient produces $70 with a return of investment that exceeds 1000%. Continued investment in this program is highly justified.
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