Endosc Int Open. 2021 Mar;9(3):E338-E342. doi: 10.1055/a-1311-0899. Epub 2021 Feb 18.
Background and study aims Women remain underrepresented in gastroenterology, especially advanced endoscopy. Women represent 30 % of general gastroenterology fellows; yet in 2019, only 12.8 % of fellows who matched into advanced endoscopy fellowship (AEF) programs were women. Methods We administered a web-based survey to the program directors (PDs) of AEF programs that participated in the 2018-2019 American Society for Gastroenterology (ASGE) match. We assessed PD and program characteristics, in addition to perceived barriers and facilitators (scale 1-5, 5 = most important) influencing women pursuing AEF training. Results We received 38 (59.3 %) responses from 64 PDs. 15.8 % (6/38) of AEF PDs and 13.2 % (5/38) of endoscopy chiefs were women. By program, women represented 14.8 % (mean) ± 17.0 % (SD) of AEF faculty and 12.0 % (mean) ± 11.1 % (SD) of AEF trainees over the past 10 years. 47.4 % (18/38) programs reported no female advanced endoscopy faculty and 31.6 % (12/38) of programs have never had a female fellow. Percentage of female fellows was strongly associated with percentage of female AEF faculty (ß = 0.43, P < 0.001). Inflexible hours and call (mean rank 3.3 ± 1.1), exposure to fluoroscopy (2.9 ± 1.1), lack of women endoscopists at national conferences/courses (2.9 ± 1.1) and lack of female mentorship (2.9 ± 1.0) were cited as the most important barriers to recruitment. Conclusion We utilized a survey of AEF PDs participating in the ASGE match to determine program characteristics and identify contributors to gender disparity. Women represent a minority of AEF PDs, endoscopy chiefs, advanced endoscopy faculty and AEF trainees. Our study highlights perceived barriers and facilitators to recruitment, and emphasizes the importance of having female representation in faculty, and leadership positions in endoscopy.