Introducing the American Journal of Surgery Virtual Research Mentor: A primer for aspiring surgeon-scientists

Published:October 27, 2021DOI:
      In recent years, the field of surgery has increasingly embraced the many ways to be productive as an academic surgeon. While earlier innovators such as Drs. Starzl and Folkman translated basic science research from the bench to the bedside, the term “academic surgery” today encompasses a much broader range of research domains – from making discoveries in a basic science laboratory to shaping surgical education to influencing health policy. Despite this progress, some students, trainees, and early career surgeons find that lack of mentorship in an area of interest, limited academic resources, and lagging misconceptions about the scope of surgical research can impede progress in launching an academic career. These issues may be improving with an increased focus on diverse research interests at some institutions and surgical societies but still contribute to persistent disparities in academic attainment for underrepresented groups.
      • Yehia B.R.
      • Cronholm P.F.
      • Wilson N.
      • et al.
      Mentorship and pursuit of academic medicine careers: a mixed methods study of residents from diverse backgrounds.
      To address these challenges, the American Journal of Surgery (AJS) Student and Resident Scholars Research Delegation has created the AJS Virtual Research Mentor, a compilation of high-yield resources to help students, trainees, and surgeons jumpstart their academic progress. The editorials in this series aim to share important references used by researchers engaged in academic surgery and eliminate barriers to entry for those with limited local research support. In this first installment, we explore identification of a research niche among the increasingly diverse areas of investigation in surgery, pathways to gaining research expertise at any career stage, and pillars of success that underlie each academic pathway.
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