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Invited Commentary
October 2016

Departments of Surgery and Mentorship

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Surgery, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Surg. 2016;151(10):907. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2016.1741

What is the purpose of an academic department of surgery? The nearly automatic answer that departments support the missions of clinical care, research, and education does not bear close scrutiny in 2016. Clinically, many of us are so focused that we have more in common with our nonsurgical specialist counterparts than with most department colleagues. That mission could be addressed by multispecialty clinical service lines, and some institutions have done so. Increasingly complex research endeavors are often best accomplished by “group science” in centers that include people from various disciplines who may not all be in the same institution, let alone department. Education could reasonably follow any of these paths as we strive to teach students and residents how to excel in the academic environment of the future.

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