Blacks, Hispanics Underrepresented in U.S. Surgical Leadership

A disproportionately small number of faculty from minority groups seems to obtain leadership positions in academic surgery, according to a study published online May 5 in JAMA Surgery.

Andrea N. Riner, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues used the Association of American Medical Colleges faculty roster (general surgeons and subspecialists, neurosurgeons, and urologists) in the Faculty Administrative Management Online User System database to assess U.S. surgical faculty census data (Dec. 31, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2019).

The researchers identified 15,653 U.S. surgical faculty for 2019 (24.8 percent women). There was an increase in representation at instructor and assistant and associate professorship appointments for female faculty from racial/ethnic-minority groups, with a more favorable trajectory than male faculty from racial/ethnic-minority groups across nearly all ranks. Most leadership positions were maintained by White faculty (full professors: 3,105 of 3,997; 77.7 percent; chairs: 294 of 380; 77.4 percent). Hispanic/Latinx (20 of 380; 5.3 percent) and Black (13 of 380; 3.4 percent) representation as chairs remained virtually unchanged during the study period. The greatest underrepresentation was among Black (106 of 3,997; 2.7 percent) and Hispanic/Latinx (176 of 3,997; 4.4 percent) full professors.

“These findings highlight the urgency to diversify surgical leadership,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Mammotome.

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