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The role of chairman and research director in influencing scholarly productivity and research funding in academic orthopaedic surgery

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The purpose of this study was to determine what orthopaedic surgery department leadership characteristics are most closely correlated with securing NIH funding and increasing scholarly productivity. Scopus database was used to identify number of publications/h-index for 4,328 faculty, department chairs (DC), and research directors (RD), listed on departmental websites from 138 academic orthopaedic departments in the United States. NIH funding data was obtained for the 2013 fiscal year. While all programs had a DC, only 46% had a RD. Of $54,925,833 in NIH funding allocated to orthopaedic surgery faculty in 2013, 3% of faculty and 31% of departments were funded. 16% of funded institutions had a funded DC whereas 65% had a funded RD. Department productivity and funding were highly correlated to leadership productivity and funding(p< 0.05). Mean funding was $1,700,000 for departments with a NIH-funded RD, $104,000 for departments with an unfunded RD, and $72,000 for departments with no RD. These findings suggest that orthopaedic department academic success is directly associated with scholarly productivity and funding of both DC and RD. The findings further highlight the correlation between a funded RD and a well-funded department. This does not hold for an unfunded RD.

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