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Despite Improvements, Disparities in Faculty Diversity Persist

Compared with U.S. demographic characteristics, female representation increased among clinical faculty, but URM representation decreased

THURSDAY, April 7, 2022 (HealthDay News) — From 1977 to 2019, there was an increase in the representation of women compared with men at U.S. medical faculties, while representation of persons underrepresented in medicine (URM) increased about twofold, according to a report published in the April 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Sophia C. Kamran, M.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined relative diversity using data from the Association of American Medical Colleges full-time faculty roster for 18 clinical academic departments from 1977 through 2019.

The researchers found that the distribution according to sex among all academic clinical faculty, full professors, department chairs, and deans showed an increase in the representation of women compared with men from 1977 through 2019; among clinical faculty, female representation increased from 14.8 to 43.3 percent. In an evaluation according to URM status, representation increased by a factor of about 2; among clinical faculty, there was an increase from 4.7 to 9.9 percent in URM representation, while among full professors and department chairs, there were increases from 2.9 to 6.5 percent and from 3.0 to 9.5 percent, respectively. Comparing trends among medical school faculty and leadership to U.S. demographic characteristics, female representation increased among clinical faculty, full professors, department chairs, and deans, while overall URM representation among clinical faculty, full professors, department chairs, and deans decreased over time.

“Despite previous calls to action, we are now sounding the alarm, as our country inches closer to a ‘majority minority’ nation of persons who need a more representative physician workforce,” the authors write.

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