February 9, 2023

Surgical resident diversity remains largely stagnant

Editor's Note

This study led by researchers at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, finds that underrepresentation of minorities persists across all surgical specialties, while representation of females improves.

The cross-sectional study examined race, ethnicity and attrition data of 112,205 surgical residents across 18 years (2001-2018) in 10 surgical specialties.

Female representation of surgical residents rose 11.6% overall. Orthopedic and neurosurgery consistently received the fewest female trainees, however, the number of female residents more than doubled in urology, integrated vascular surgery, otolaryngology, and thoracic surgery.

Female residents have an approximately 16% increased risk of attrition than their male counterparts. The authors suggest further investigation into the correlation between increased female representation and lowered risk of attrition.

Diversity among racial minorities across all specialties remains relatively unchanged from 2001 to 2018. The greatest racial and ethnic diversity is found in integrated vascular surgery.

Attrition rates for underrepresented minority groups were higher than non-minority groups, and predominantly driven by Black/African American resident attrition. Black/African American residents account for nearly 10% of all residents experiencing attrition and more than 14% of those dismissed.

Critical evaluation of these issues is vital to creating “more inclusive, diverse, and supportive surgical training programs,” and “demonstrate the importance of developing strategies to recruit, retain, and support residents,” the authors conclude.

Live chat by BoldChat