American Association of Plastic Surgeons

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Focused Subspecialty Training In Plastic Surgery Residency: An Objective Assessment Of The Cleveland Clinic Pilot Program
Demetrius M. Coombs, M.D.1, Steven L. Bernard, M.D.2, Raymond Isakov, M.D.2, James E. Zins, M.D., F.A.C.S.2.
1The Craniofacial Center, Dallas, TX, USA, 2The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA.

PURPOSE: Many senior-level plastic surgery residents have a firm idea regarding the complexion of their future practice. Rather than continuing with traditional rotations in the 6th year, it is suggested that chief residents have the option of a 6-month focused training experience in their final year.
METHODS: A pilot program of focused training in the subspecialty area of the chief residentís interest was initiated at our institution in July 2022. Areas of focus included aesthetics, while hand/microsurgery, transgender, and craniofacial surgery were under development. Objective means of assessing the value of the residentís experience were developed, including blinded program evaluations completed by participating and non-participating residents and attending surgeons, case log activity, and academic productivity.
RESULTS: Objective assessment demonstrated that the focused training pilot was favorably received by all residents and participating staff. All residents expressed interest in participating during their chief year and requested the program continue. Furthermore, 10 (48%) residents were interested in pursuing a formal fellowship different than their focused training experience. Attending plastic surgeons unanimously agreed that the pilot offered a substantial advantage and improvement to the current residency training model and supported its continuation. Notably, there were no major criticisms, logistical problems, or administrative burdens encountered.
CONCLUSION: Given the increasing complexity of plastic surgery practice and rising competition from other specialties, a focused training experience prior to post-graduate fellowship or formal practice may represent an alternative means of enhancing plastic surgery education. The current pilot attempts to test and objectify this concept.
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