The Association for Academic Surgery (AAS) strives to stimulate young surgeons and surgical scientists to pursue successful careers in academic surgery. AAS organizes two annual courses, the Fundamentals of Surgical Research and Career Development Course, which aim to prepare surgeons-in-training, as well as junior faculty for successful research careers. These well-established courses offer an excellent venue to encourage more women and minorities to pursue academic surgery careers as well as an opportunity to develop longstanding mentored relationships with the goal of grooming women and minorities to become academic surgery leaders in the years to come.
The specific aims of this R13 application are to: 1) Increase the attendance of women and minorities at the Association for Academic Surgery Fundamentals of Surgical Research Course and Career Development Course through the continuation of a targeted travel award opportunity. We propose to award twelve travel awards annually to offset travel expenses and encourage increased attendance for women and minority attendees. 2) Improve likelihood of success for women and minorities in academic surgery careers by establishing mentored relationships with select attendees and senior members of the Association for Academic Surgery. Recipients of travel funds are offered an AAS mentorship opportunity which pairs attendees with a senior member of AAS. It is our hope that this meeting is successful in building relationships that last far beyond the event and provide future opportunities for the mentor to aid in the career development of the mentee. This is a competing renewal application for a program that has been very successful during the initial two years of funding. The initiation of travel awards supported by this R13 has led to overall increased attendance by women and minorities. The program is strengthened by matching funds from AAS to support additional women and minority attendees.
The long-term goal of this conference grant is to increase the number of women and minorities pursuing academic surgery careers by offering travel awards to participate in valuable education and mentoring activities that will increase the likelihood of their success.