AJTR Copyright © 2009-All rights reserved. Published by e-Century Publishing Corporation, Madison, WI 53711
Am J Translational Res 2010;2(2):129-134

Original Article
Is endocrine surgery research dying?

Joel T. Adler, Herbert Chen

Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Received January 1, 2010; accepted January 6, 2010, available online February 15, 2010

Abstract: Surgeon-scientists are uniquely positioned to make improvements in patient care.  With stagnant NIH
funding and increased grant applications, government-sponsored endocrine surgery research may be declining,
thus compromising the training of future surgical investigators.  We evaluated if NIH-sponsored endocrine
surgery research has decreased. Grant funding of all United States active and senior members of the American
Association of Endocrine Surgeons (AAES) in 1998 and 2008 was obtained from the NIH Computer Retrieval of
Information on Scientific Projects (CRISP) database.  All NIH grants between 1996-1998 and 2006-2008 were
abstracted. There were 210 and 260 eligible members in 1998 and 2008, respectively.  From 2006-2008, fewer
members (8% vs. 13%, P = 0.05) had NIH funding for all research, and fewer members (3% vs. 6%, P = 0.05)
were funded for endocrine surgery research.  Grants per funded member did not decrease for all research
(1.3±0.1 vs. 1.3±0.1, P = 0.99) or endocrine surgery research (1.2±0.1 vs. 1.1±0.1, P =
0.95).  Of 24 members who had funding from 1996-1998, 8 (33%) maintained funding, while 4 of 12 (33%)
maintained funding for endocrine surgery research. We conclude that fewer AAES members have funding after a
ten-year period.  Two-thirds of investigators no longer have funding, but the average number of grants per funded
member is the same.  This suggests that investigators are able to obtain and maintain funding once established,
but fewer investigators are able to achieve this funding.  Endocrine surgery training programs must continue to
emphasize the development of future surgeon-scientists.(AJTR1001001).

Key words: Endocrine surgery, research funding, surgeon-scientist, surgical research, endocrine surgery
research, education

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Address all correspondence to:
Herbert Chen, MD
H4/722 Clinical Science Center
600 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53792
Phone: (608) 263-1387
Fax: (608) 263-7652
Email:
chen@surgery.wisc.edu