The proportion of women among dermatology residents has significantly increased over multiple decades, while the proportion of nonwhite residents has not significantly increased, according to study results.
Researchers analyzed sex and ethnicity trends among dermatology residents, which were then compared over multiple decades with other specialties and medical school graduates.
The researchers used the National Graduate Medical Education Census to gather 36 years of self-reported ethnicity and 19 years of self-reported sex composition data of American College of Graduate Medication Education-registered dermatology, internal medicine, emergency medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, ophthalmology, general surgery and orthopedic surgery residents. The Association of American Medical Colleges Data Books was used to gather similar data of graduating medical school classes.
Ethnicities were described as white, Asian, black, Hispanic or other.
There was a significant increase in the percentage of female residents over the 36 years studied in all specialties. There was an average annual increase in female residents of 1.1% (P < .001), while there was an average annual increase of 0.8% in the national medical school graduating classes. There was a significantly greater proportion of female dermatology residents compared to that of medical school graduates (64.1% vs. 48.1%; P < .001). The proportion of female residents in other medical fields ranged from 13.8% in orthopedic surgery to 82.3% for obstetrics/gynecology.
“Dermatology did not show a significant change in the proportion of nonwhite residents relative to white residents, whereas medical school graduating classes showed an average increase of 0.43% per year in nonwhite graduates (P < .001) over a 19-year period,” the researchers wrote. There was a significantly lower proportion of current dermatology nonwhite residents compared with medical school graduates (30.4% vs. 38.5%; P <.001). The proportion of nonwhite residents ranged from 22.2% for orthopedic surgery to 58.4% for internal medicine.
“Currently, dermatology health disparities exist for ethnic minorities, especially for those with skin cancer and atopic dermatitis,” the researchers wrote. “Lack of cross-cultural education and underrepresentation of ethnic minorities in research are though to contribute to this disparity, highlight the need for greater ethnic diversity among dermatologists.”
“To enhance and sustain the diversity of the dermatology workforce, residency directors should encourage participation in and promote development of programs addressing these critical issues,” the researchers concluded. – by Bruce Thiel
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.