Master's Degrees Among Academic Plastic Surgeons and Plastic Surgery Residents: What Are the Trends?

Rami Elmorsi, Malke Asaad, Omar Badawi, Kiran S. Mahapure, Jesse Selber, Mark W. Clemens, Carrie K. Chu, Anaeze C. Offodile, Charles E. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background As more plastic surgery clinicians pursue advanced degrees and strive to become stronger physician-scientists, an objective understanding of how such degrees influence careers becomes important. We hypothesized that having a master's degree is associated with higher scholarly activity, research funding, academic progression, and leadership appointments. Methods Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited integrated plastic surgery residency program Web sites were queried to create a data set of current academic plastic surgeons (APSs) and plastic surgery residents (PSRs). Scholarly metrics such as publications, citations, and H-indices were extracted from the Scopus database. National Institutes of Health and Plastic Surgery Foundation funding information was collected through their respective Web sites. Results Our cohort comprised 799 APSs and 922 PSRs, of whom 8% and 7.4%, respectively, had at least one master's degree. Academic plastic surgeons with master's of public health degrees had a significantly higher median number of publications and citations than APSs without a master's of public health. There was no association between any master's degree and academic rank or being a department chairman or program director. Academic plastic surgeons with master of science degrees were more likely to receive National Institutes of Health grants. Among PSRs, master's of science graduates had a higher median number of publications. Other master's degrees did not significantly influence scholarly productivity or funding. Conclusions Certain master's degrees had an impact on scholarly productivity, with no significant effect on academic rank or leadership positions. The value of master's degrees in programs focusing on healthcare management, leadership skills, and business acumen likely extends beyond the scope of this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-486
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022


  • education
  • leadership
  • master's degrees
  • plastic surgery
  • residency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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