The Representation of Women and Ethnic Minorities among Integrated Plastic Surgery Trainees: A Persistent Need for Diversification

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J Natl Med Assoc. 2021 Jun 7:S0027-9684(21)00073-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jnma.2021.05.002. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Diversity in the workplace is crucial. As the United States population continues to diversify, the composition of graduate medical trainees (GMTs) among various medical specialties is not diversifying at nearly the same rate. This study aims to identify gender and ethnic minority disparities present in medicine, specifically among GMTs in the field of plastic surgery.

PURPOSE: The field of plastic surgery is vast, with the patient population ranging from newborns to elders of all different races, religions, and ethnicities. However, the representation of women and minorities among the current plastic surgery trainees is not equivalent to the population they serve.

METHODS: Data from the Graduate Medical Education (GME) census published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) was analyzed to compare trends of female and underrepresented ethnic minorities over the academic period from 2015 through 2019. Data regarding all GMTs and specifically those in the integrated plastic surgery (IPS) program was collected.

RESULTS: Over the five-year study period, females were consistently underrepresented in plastic surgery when compared to the total number of female medical trainees. Currently, females represent 42.7% of GMTs in IPS, a small increase from 40.9% in 2015. Furthermore, Whites and Asians encompassed 87.7% (65.6% and 22.1%, respectively) of plastic surgery GMTs in 2019-2020. In the same academic year, Blacks and Hispanics together made up only 9.1% (2.5% and 6.6%, respectively) of GMTs in plastic surgery.

CONCLUSION: This study portrays the importance of highlighting gender and ethnic minority disparities in the field of plastic surgery, thereby promoting initiatives for change in the coming future.

PMID:34112525 | DOI:10.1016/j.jnma.2021.05.002