The study examines the diversity among American surgeons


By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 5, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Whites continue to dominate top positions in surgery at U.S. universities, while the number of black and Hispanic surgeons remains flat, according to a new study.

“There are many talented surgeons of different races, ethnicities and genders who do a wonderful job and are not recognized or not recognized at all. And that has contributed to frustration,” said the study’s co-author, the Dr. Jose Trevino. Virginia Commonwealth University Press Release. He is president of surgical oncology and associate professor of surgery at the university’s medical school.

For the study, researchers analyzed data on more than 15,000 professors in U.S. surgery departments between 2013 and 2019. During that time, the proportion of chairs in the surgery department and full professors of white doctors fell between 4 and 5 percentage points, with an increase of 4 percentage points among Asian doctors.

There was a decline in male black and Hispanic chairs, which fell 0.1 and 0.5 percentage points, respectively, during the study period.


Black and Hispanic women were even less likely to hold leadership positions. During the study period, only one black woman and one Hispanic were appointed department presidents, from scratch before 2015.

In 2019, whites accounted for three-quarters of full chairs and professors, the findings showed. Black and Hispanic surgeons held approximately 3% to 5% of these positions, a small portion considering the general demographics of the United States.

Co-author of the study, Dr. Andrea Riner, a surgical resident at the University of Florida College of Medicine, said, “I don’t think it’s an issue that they don’t aspire to these positions. And I think a lot of them they are really qualified to lead. “

One way to promote the success of traditionally underrepresented groups is sponsorship, that is, a person in a position of advocacy for someone who does not have the same level of influence, the study authors said. .

“Having that person speak for you and say you deserve any position you want to hold is really powerful,” Riner said. “As a profession, we need to be a little more aware or intentional about sponsoring diverse people in our departments.”


The study was published online on May 5 a Surgery JAMA.

More information

The RAND Corporation has more advantages diversity in U.S. health care.

SOURCE: Virginia Commonwealth University, press release, May 5, 2021

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