March 25, 2021

Sexist, racial/ethnic microaggressions against surgeons, anesthesiologists

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

The findings of this study from the Southern California Permanente Medical Group, Irvine, suggest that there is a high prevalence of microaggressions that stigmatize female and racial/ethnic-minority surgeons and anesthesiologists and contribute to unhealthy surgical workplaces and physician burnout.

Of 588 (259 female, 329 male) respondents to a survey of surgeons and anesthesiologists in a large health maintenance organization:

  • 94% of female respondents said they have experienced sexist microaggressions, most commonly overhearing or seeing degrading female terms or images.
  • 81% of racial/ethnic-minority physicians said they have experienced racial/ethnic microaggressions, most commonly reporting few leaders or coworkers of the same race/ethnicity.
  • 5% reported criminality, which was unique to and significantly higher for Hispanic and Black physicians.
  • 47% reported burnout, which was higher among female and racial/ethnic-minority physicians.

These findings highlight the gaps in empathy and compassion within the medical/surgical community and society at large, the authors say.


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