Translating the Value of the Academic Surgeon Into Salary, Time, and Resources

Published:January 20, 2023DOI:


      Academic surgeons provide tremendous value to institutions including notoriety, publicity, cutting-edge clinical advances, extramural funding, and academic growth and development. In turn, these attributes may result in improved reputation scores and hospital or medical center rankings. While many hospital systems, schools of medicine, and departments of surgery claim to have a major commitment to academic surgery and research, academic surgeons are often undercompensated compared to clinically focused counterparts. Existing salary benchmarks (e.g., the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) or the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)) are often used but are imperfect. Thus, the value proposition for academic surgeons goes beyond compensation and often includes protected time for academic pursuit, nonsalary financial support, and other intangible benefits to being associated with a major academic center (e.g., abundance of scientific collaborators, infrastructure for grant management). As a result, institution-specific practices have developed and academic surgeons are left to negotiate salary support including bonus structures, protected time, and recruitment packages on a case-by-case basis without a clear roadmap. A diverse panel representing a range of academic surgical experiences was convened at the 2022 Academic Surgical Congress to illuminate this complex, often stress-inducing, aspect of an academic surgeon's professional career.


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