Introduction: Establishing the optimum training environment to prepare future surgeons, leaders and educators in endourology is a goal of the Endourological Society (EUS). The purpose of this study was to assess the academic productivity and ultimate career choices of surgeons within 5 years of formal fellowship training to better understand how it may reflect the type of training program attended.
Materials & Methods: The AUA Office of Education provided e-mail contact information on individuals receiving EUS Fellowship certificates between the years 2002 and2006 inclusive. With the collaboration and approval of the AUA Laparoscopic Fellowship Committee, a survey consisting of five primary questions, including type and years of fellowship training, robotic training, practice choices, years in practice, and academic productivity, was then distributed electronically to the 78 former fellows with available e-mail addresses.
Results: A total of 22 out of 78 (28.2%) fellows responded to the initial e-mail contact. All responders were trained in designated endourology fellowships that were not combined with a separate year of oncology training. Sixteen (72.7%) were from 1-year and 6 (27.3%) were from 2-year training programs. Eighteen (81.8%) received training in robotics during their fellowship; 3 of whom had prior training during residency. The mean number of years in practice for responders was 2. Thirteen (56.5%) of former fellows established careers only in academics, including 5 (83.3%) and 8 (50%) of those trained in 2 and 1 year programs, respectively. Publications in peer-reviewed journals averaged 1.2 and 2.1 per year for responders trained in 1 and 2 year programs, respectively. Four (67%) fellows trained in a 2 year program submitted at least one grant after fellowship, with 57% receiving funding compared to 4/16 (25%) from 1 year programs, with 16% being funded. 63.6% of potential AUA meetings were attended by former fellows of 2 year programs, with 50% having accepted abstracts, compared to 58.8% and 37.5%, respectively of those from 1 year programs. 63% of World Congress of Endourology meetings were attended by 2 year fellows, with 83.3% having accepted abstracts, compared to 55.9% and 43.7%, respectively, of those from 1 year programs. Five (38.5%) former fellows practicing at academic centers offered EUS approved fellowships. No other responding fellows offered fellowships.
Conclusions: This initial assessment of the ability of former fellows trained in endourology to pursue and perform the tasks crucial to their ultimate career choice may help us to identify and implement the most effective training environments of the future.