Best practices for enhancing surgical research: a perspective from the Canadian Association of Chairs of Surgical Research

Best practices for enhancing surgical research: a perspective from the Canadian Association of Chairs of Surgical Research

Can J Surg 2019;62(6):488-498 | PDF

Alp Sener, MD, PhD; Colin C. Anderson, PhD; Francois A. Auger, MD; Jake Barralet, PhD; Mary Brindle, MD; Francisco S. Cayabyab, PhD, MEng; Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD; Louis Lacombe, MD; Louis P. Perrault, MD, PhD; Robert Sabbagh, MD, MSc; Andrew J.E. Seely, MD, PhD; Christopher Wallace, MD; James Ellsmere, MD, MSc; Richard Keijzer, MD, PhD

Summary

The Canadian Association of Chairs of Surgical Research was created in 2014, with representation from every departmental surgical research committee across Canada, to establish Canadian surgical research as a beacon for health care innovation and to propose solutions for the daily challenges facing surgeon-researchers. Our key mandate has been to identify challenges for surgeons and scientists performing research to prevent further erosion of this vital area of activity that benefits patients, health care service providers and Canadian society. This article outlines the findings of a nationwide survey sent to all members of departments of surgery across Canada, seeking input on current threats and potential solutions. The results suggest that surgical research in Canada is experiencing a decline in funding and an increase in challenges affecting research productivity of academic surgeons, such as pressures to be clinically active, unpredictable surgical schedules, growing administrative demands, and increasing complexity of patient populations. Although surgeons are productive in their research endeavours, institutional changes and sharing of best practices are needed to ensure sustainable growth of research programs.


Accepted Nov. 1, 2019

See the related editorial.

Acknowledgements: On behalf of CACSR, the authors thank all the surgeons and scientists across Canada who participated in the survey as well as Janice Sutherland, Mary Brychka and Jennifer Artz for their contributions and critical review of this manuscript.

Affiliations: From the Department of Surgery, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, London, Ont. (Sener); the Department of Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta. (Anderson); the Department of Surgery, Université Laval, Québec, Que. (Auger,Lacombe); the Department of Surgery, McGill University, Montreal, Que. (Barralet); the Department of Surgery, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alta. (Brindle); the Department of Surgery, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Sask. (Cayabyab); the Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont. (Fehlings); the Department of Surgery, Montreal Heart Institute, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Que. (Perrault); the Department of Surgery, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Que. (Sabbagh); the Department of Surgery, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ont. (Seely); the Department of Surgery, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ont. (Wallace); the Department of Surgery, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS (Ellsmere); and the Department of Surgery, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Man. (Keijzer).

Competing interests: M. Brindle is an associate editor of CJS; she was not involved in the review of this manuscript or in the decision to accept it for publication. A. Seely is the founder and chief science officer of Therapeutic Monitoring Systems, a company dedicated to commercialization of variability-derived clinical decision support tools in the intensive care unit. This work has no relationship to the submitted work. No other competing interests were declared.

Contributors: All authors contributed substantially to the conception, writing and revision of this article and approved the final version for publication.

DOI: 10.1503/cjs.012619

Correspondence to: A. Sener, Department of Surgery, Western University, University Hospital, C4-208, 339 Windermere Rd, London ON N6A 5A5, alp.sener@lhsc.on.ca