Examination of publications from academic anesthesiology faculty in the United States

Robert W. Hurley, Kevin Zhao, Patrick J. Tighe, Phebe S. Ko, Peter J. Pronovost, Christopher L. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND:: Leaders in academic anesthesiology in the United States have called for an examination of the state of scholarship within anesthesiology departments. National Institutes of Health funding and publication quality of subsets of U.S anesthesiologists have been examined; however, the publication output of and the demographic characteristics that are associated with academic anesthesiologists, defined as faculty associated with a medical college, are unknown. A database from the American Association of Medical Colleges containing demographic information of all academic anesthesiologists in the United States was used to examine the publication output and demographic characteristics of anesthesiology faculty during a 2-year period from 2006 to 2008. METHOD:: All the publications found in the PubMed database for each faculty member were retrieved and included in a database containing their demographics including institution, gender, academic degree, academic rank, nature of appointment (part versus full-time), status of appointment (joint versus primary), departmental division, subspecialty certification status, and additional graduate medical education training. RESULTS:: Six thousand one hundred forty-three faculty who held positions at the 108 U.S. academic anesthesiology programs published 8521 manuscripts between 2006 and 2008. Thirty-seven percent of faculty published a manuscript, and the overall median publication rate was 0. The proportion of faculty with at least 1 publication was larger among faculty with higher rank (Odds Ratio [OR] for professors versus instructors = 6.4; confidence interval [CI], 4.57-8.49; P < 0.0001), male gender (OR 1.3; CI, 0.14-1.47; P < 0.0001), possessing a courtesy appointment status (OR 2.1; CI, 1.25-3.52; P = 0.0048) and lacking postgraduate training and subspecialty certification (OR for MD versus MD w/training + certification 1.3; CI, 1.11-1.60; P = 0.0020). Those faculty with an MD had lower probablility of publishing when compared with MD/PhD or PhD faculty (OR 0.45; CI, 0.32-0.65; P < 0.0001; OR 0.27; CI, 0.20-0.37; P < 0.0001, respectively). Within the group of faculty who published at least 1 paper, full professor faculty had 3.8 times more publications than instructors (CI, 2.99-4.88; P < 0.0001), and those who lacked postgraduate training had 1.4 times more publications than those who were trained and certified (CI, 1.16-1.78; P = 0.0009). PhD degree (P = 0.006), male gender (P = 0.013), and courtesy anesthesia appointment (P = 0.037) also were associated with higher publication rates. CONCLUSIONS:: The overall publication rate of anesthesiologists associated with medical schools was low in this time period. These data establish the pre-"call to action" baseline of scholarly activity by U.S. academic anesthesiologists for future comparisons. Increased use of structured resident and fellow research education programs as well as recruiting more MD/PhD and PhD scientists to the field may help to improve the publication productivity of academic anesthesiology departments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-199
Number of pages8
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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