The First Two Years of the Association of Pediatric Surgery Training Program Directors (APSTPD) Transition to Fellowship Course: Lessons Learned and Future Directions

Sanjay Krishnaswami, Stephanie F. Polites, Gabriela Dekany, Barbara A. Gaines, Benedict C. Nwomeh, Eunice Y. Huang, Christine M. Finck, Steven R. Lopushinsky, Pramod S. Puligandla, Alexander Feliz, Grace Z. Mak, Scott A. Anderson, Timothy Fairbanks, Samuel M. Alaish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE:: The first transition to fellowship course for incoming pediatric surgery fellows was held in the US in 2018 and the second in 2019. The course aimed to facilitate a successful transition in to fellowship by introduction of the professional, patient care, and technical aspects unique to pediatric surgery training. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of the first two years of this course in the US and discuss subsequent evolution of this endeavor. DESIGN: This is a descriptive and qualitative analysis of two years’ experience with the Association of Pediatric Surgery Training Program Directors’ (APSTPD) Transition to Fellowship course. Course development and curriculum, including clinical knowledge, soft skills, and hands-on skills labs, are presented. Participating incoming fellows completed multiple choice, boards-style pre- and post-tests. Scores were compared to determine if knowledge was effectively transferred. Participants also completed post-course evaluations and subsequent 3- or 12-month surveys inquiring on the lasting impact of the course on their transition into fellowship. Standard univariate statistics were used to present results. SETTING: The first APSTPD Transition to Fellowship course was held at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland in 2018, and the second course was held at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon in 2019. PARTICIPANTS: All fellows entering ACGME-certified Pediatric Surgery fellowships in the United States were invited to participate. Twenty fellows accepted and attended in 2018, and fourteen fellows participated in 2019. RESULTS: There were 34 incoming pediatric surgery fellow participants over 2 years. Faculty represented more than 10 institutions each year. Pre- and post-test scores were similar between years, with a significant improvement of scores after completion of the course (67±10% vs 79±8%, p < 0.001). Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive, with skills labs being attendees’ favorite component. When asked about usefulness of individual course sessions, more attendees found clinical sessions more useful than soft skills (93% vs 73%, p = 0.011). Almost all (90%) of participants reported the course met its stated purpose and would recommend the course to future fellows. This was further reflected on 3 and 12 month follow up surveys wherein 85% stated they found the course helpful during the first few months of fellowship and 90% would still recommend it. CONCLUSIONS: A transition to fellowship course in the US for incoming pediatric surgery fellows is logistically feasible, effective in transfer of knowledge, and highly regarded among attendees. Feedback from each course has been used to improve the subsequent courses, ensuring that it remains a valuable addition to pediatric surgical training in the US.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-71
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • boot camp
  • education
  • fellowship
  • pediatric surgery
  • simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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