The 0 + 5 integrated vascular surgery (VS) residency has altered the training paradigm for future vascular specialists. Rising interest in these novel programs highlights our need to better understand the applicant pool. We compared demographics and surveyed recent applicants to our integrated program to gain more insight into their background and motivation for accelerated vascular training.Demographics and objective parameters were determined from all 65 applicants to the integrated VS program at Stanford University Medical Center and compared to 58 applicants interviewed by the general surgery (GS) program at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center by querying the Electronic Residency Application System for the programs in 2009. There was no overlap of applicants between programs. An anonymous, voluntary Web-based survey was sent to these cohorts with a response rate of 82% for VS applicants and 60% for GS applicants. Subjects were queried regarding their background, personal experience, prior exposure to VS, and motivations for residency specialty selection.Applicants to integrated VS programs tended to be older, were less likely to be from a US medical school, had a higher number of publications, and a higher percentage of cardiovascular-related publications than the GS applicants. When stratified by the 27 VS applicants (41%) that were offered an interview, this highly selected and desirable group for training was nearly 40% female, more likely to have an additional degree (PhD, master's), just as likely to be in the top quartile of their medical school class (60%), and score equally well on standardized board examinations (90th percentile) than the top GS applicants offered interviews. Survey data revealed that the majority of career choices (65%) were made during the third and fourth years of medical school. Factors most strongly influencing the decision to choose VS as a career were endovascular technologies/devices, challenging open vascular operations, clinical rotations on vascular surgery, the aging patient population, and perceived need for vascular surgeons and vascular surgeon mentorship. The most common reasons cited for particularly pursuing an integrated 0 + 5 VS training program were (1) more focused training/integration of cardiovascular medicine, (2) interest in catheter-based endovascular therapies, and (3) shorter time in training. Of the GS applicants, 58% indicated they would be interested in applying to an integrated residency in their subspecialty of interest, and 45% listed vascular surgery as a potential fellowship option after general surgery.Applicants to 0 + 5 integrated vascular residencies were more likely to have rotated on a vascular surgery service, observed vascular cases, identified a vascular surgery mentor, and been actively involved in cardiovascular research. The quality of the top VS applicant based on class rank and test scores is comparable to the top GS applicants, yet the VS applicant has a higher percentage of advanced degrees, more publications, and more involvement in cardiovascular research. Institutional strategies to increase medical student exposure to vascular surgery clinically and via research programs will optimize our ability to attract and train the best candidates in these new training programs.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jvs.2009.08.076
View details for PubMedID 20022205