Blacks Are Vastly Underrepresented in Leadership Roles in Academic Surgery

A new study examines racial diversity in leadership positions in academic surgery. In an analysis of 2,165 faculty at 165 surgical departments in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, only 8.9 percent of leaders were of racial or ethnic groups underrepresented in medicine.

African American women made up only 1.5 percent of all department chairs and 4 percent of vice chairs. They made up just 0.6 percent of division chiefs.

Of the African Americans who were vice chairs, 51 percent held responsibilities relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Another 17 percent were in charge of faculty development.

The authors conclude that “surgical leaders from racial or ethnic groups underrepresented in medicine are disproportionately clustered in roles (eg, VCs of DEI or faculty development) that may not translate into future promotion to department chairs.”

The full study “Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Diversity Among Academic Surgical Leaders in the US,” was published on the website of JAMA Surgery. It may be accessed here.

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