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Industry Support of Graduate Medical Education in Surgery

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The role of pharmaceutical and medical device companies (“industry”) in graduate medical education (GME) is under debate. We surveyed program directors in general surgery and surgical specialties to determine industry activities in surgical GME. We used an internet-based questionnaire regarding industry marketing and educational activities in surgical programs, and their effects on surgical education. We received 65 responses to 377 requests (17%). Nearly two-thirds reported industry-sponsored meals. Industry-supported travel was infrequent (“never” and “seldom” in 56% of device workshops, 69% of lectures, and 74% of conferences). More than one-half reported support for academic events: paid lecturers and exhibition fees (both 58%), and unrestricted grants (62%). More than one-half (54%) reported industry-sponsored research. One-fourth believed their programs to be dependent on industry for their educational missions. Most disagreed that industry support posed a problem, either in general (55%) or for their program (71%). One-fourth of respondents (25%) advocated profession-wide restrictions of industry involvement with GME. Equal numbers agreed (39%) and disagreed (35%) with the view that pharmaceutical and medical device industries have motivations that are in conflict with those of doctors and their patients. Industry activities are widespread in surgical residencies, with approval of many program directors.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: From the Department of Surgery, Mercer University School of Medicine, Macon, Georgia

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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