Published online Jun 18, 2021. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v12.i6.412
Peer-review started: February 19, 2021
First decision: May 3, 2021
Revised: May 5, 2021
Accepted: June 4, 2021
Article in press: June 4, 2021
Published online: June 18, 2021
Fellowship directors (FDs) in sports medicine influence the future of trainees in the field of orthopaedics. Understanding the characteristics these leaders share must be brought into focus. Currently, there is little research regarding the demographic landscape of these leaders.
The current literature highlighted a lack of research specifically using objective data analyze sports medicine FDs. By adding to this gap in the literature, this study may promote future research towards understanding further the requirements and qualifications needed to hold a leadership position in orthopedic surgery.
This study aimed to analyze the demographic background, institutional training, and academic experience for all current sports medicine FDs.
A national orthopedic surgery sports medicine fellowship program directory was used to incorporate all United States fellowships and their respective FDs. Demographic information of interest included: Age, gender, ethnicity, residency/fellowship training, residency/fellowship graduation year, year hired by current institution, time since training completion until FD appointment, length in FD role, status as a team physician and H-index. This information was collected via online resources, emailed questionnaires, phone call and current curriculum vitae. Data was then complied and reviewed to evaluate for trends among sports medicine FDs. This is a novel research method for analyzing the current cohort of sports medicine FDs.
Of 82 FDs were incorporated into the study, 97.5% of which were male. 84.15% identified as Caucasian, 7.32% as Asian-American, 2.44% as African American, and 2.44% as Hispanic, and 3.66% were of another race or ethnicity. The mean age of current FDs was 56 years old, and the mean Scopus H-index was 23.49. 45.12% completed their residency training, fellowship training or both at the same institution where they currently work. Additionally, 69.5% are also team physicians at the professional and/or collegiate level. Seven residency programs least three future FDs. While seven fellowship programs produced at least four future FDs. 9.75% of FDs completed two fellowships and 3.66% of FDs completed three fellowships. 3.66% of FDs did not graduate from any fellowship training program.
This study provides an overview of current sports medicine FDs within the United States and functions as a guide to direct initiatives to achieve diversity equality. This study may be referenced to help dictate efforts to address disparities in gender and racial equality in orthopedic surgery.
The direction of future research should focus on the progression of leaders in orthopedic surgery, evaluating the changes in demographic and academic backgrounds of leaders in subsequent years. Applying this methodology longitudinally may prove paramount in reaching the goals the field of orthopedic surgery aims to achieve.