Impact of Neurosurgery Medical Student Research Grants on Neurosurgery Residency Choice

Impact of Neurosurgery Medical Student Research Grants on Neurosurgery Residency Choice

Ahmed J. Awad
Christopher A. Sarkiss
Christopher P. Kellner
Jeremy Steinberger
Justin R. Mascitelli
Eric K. Oermann
Margaret Pain
Reade De Leacy
Raj Shrivastava
Joshua B. Bederson
J Moccocorrespondence
Department of Neurosurgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Mount Sinai Health System, New York, New York, USA


Recent decades have seen a rapid expansion of involvement of medical students in biomedical research during medical school training. Research within medical school has been shown to influence medical students with regard to medical knowledge, career development, and residency specialty choice. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of neurosurgery medical student research grants on neurosurgery residency choice and provide an insight on the demographics of grant awardees.


In this retrospective study, a search of award recipients was performed using data available on the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, and Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation websites. Searched years included the first cycle of American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation (2007) and Council of State Neurosurgical Societies/Congress of Neurological Surgeons (2008–2009) grant awards until the 2015–2016 cycle, which is the latest award cycle to date.


The initial search yielded 163 research grants that were awarded to 158 students between the years of 2007 and 2016. Among the 163 grant recipients, 126 (77.3%) were men. Among the 88 recipients who entered postgraduate residency programs, 51% (45 of 88) matched into neurosurgery residency. When considering both neurosurgery and neurology residency programs, the percentage increased to 59.1% (52 of 88).


Neurosurgery grants for medical students are highly successful in producing future neurosurgeons with >50% of grant recipients matched into neurosurgery. Women are underrepresented in neurosurgery grants and neurosurgery residency programs. This situation can be improved by providing insight about the field early in medical school, perhaps through increased use of neurosurgery medical student grants.


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