Associate Program Directors in Surgery: A Select Group of Surgical Educators

Farin Amersi, Jennifer Choi, Afshin Molkara, Danny Takanishi, Karen Deveney, Areti Tillou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: The role of the Associate Program Director (APD) within surgical education is not clearly defined or regulated by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, often leading to variations in the responsibilities among institutions. Required credentials are not specified and compensation and protected time are not regulated resulting in large discrepancies among institutions. APDs are brought into the fold of surgical education to parcel out the escalating responsibilities of program director (PD). The Association of Program Directors in Surgery, Associate Program Directors Committee sent a survey to all APDs to better understand the role of the APDs within the hierarchy of surgical education. Design: A survey was sent to all 235 general surgery residency programs through the Association of Program Directors in Surgery list serve. The survey collected information on APD demographics, characteristics, and program information, qualifications of the APD, time commitment and compensation, administrative duties, and projected career track. Setting: General surgery residency programs within the United States. Participants: 108 Associate Program Directors in general surgery Results: A total of 108 (46%) APDs responded to the survey. Seventy-three (70.2%) of the APD's were males. Most (77.8%) were in practice for more than 5 years, and 69% were at a university-based program. Most of the respondents felt that the administrative and curricular tasks were appropriately distributed between the APD and PD and many shared tasks with the PD. A total of 44.6% were on the path to become a future PD at their institution. An equal number of APDs (42.6%) were compensated above their base salary for being an APD vs no compensation at all; however, 16 (14.8%) had a reduced clinical load as part of their compensation for being an APD. Conclusion: This is the first study to describe the characteristics of APDs within the hierarchy of surgical education. Our data demonstrate that APDs have a substantial role in the function of a residency program and they need to be developed to better define their position in the program leadership.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-293
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • ACGME requirements
  • Associate Program Directors
  • Systems-Based Practice
  • administrative duties
  • general surgery residency
  • surgical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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