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A Call to Action: Black/African American Women Surgeon Scientists, Where are They?

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Today, we will be discussing the article entitled, A Call to Action: Black/African American Women Surgeon Scientists, Where are They?

Why is this article important?

  • Academic medicine and surgery are rigorous fields which have excluded underrepresented minorities in the past.

  • They remain critically underrepresented in these areas and throughout leadership roles, despite diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Article Summary

What they looked at:

  • The aim of this article was to determine the prevalence of female African American academic surgeons and the number of grants awarded to female African American physicians in these areas.

How they measured things:

  • They utilized a retrospective review from the 2017 AAMC faculty roster and NIH Freedom of Information Act Office.

What were their outcomes:

  • 2.72% of United States medical school surgical faculty were African American. African American females account for less than 1% of surgical faculty.

  • 0.26% of professors of surgery, 0.19% associate professors of surgery, and 1.1% assistant professors of surgery were African American females.

  • There were no female African American chairs of surgery.

  • 0.34% of NIH grants between 1998 and 2017 were awarded to African American female surgeons.

Why do we care about this article?

What does this mean?

  • African American women are significantly underrepresented and underfunded in academic surgical departments.

How does this apply to us?

  • Academic medical centers serve a student and patient population representative of the demographics of the United States, which highlights the importance of diversity and inclusion efforts.

  • Lack of diversity in academic faculty and leadership leads to disparities in institutional support and mentorship for URMs. Continued interventions are necessary to improve diversity and overcome disparities.

Take Home Point

  • Support and interventions are necessary to help underrepresented minorities navigate obstacles and implicit bias in academic medicine because there is a scarcity.

Similar Articles

  • For further reading on the topic, check out these articles!

  • Kalet A, Libby AM, Jagsi R, Brady K, Chavis-Keeling D, Pillinger MH, Daumit GL, Drake AF, Drake WP, Fraser V, Ford D, Hochman JS, Jones RD, Mangurian C, Meagher EA, McGuinness G, Regensteiner JG, Rubin DC, Yaffe K, Ravenell JE. Mentoring Underrepresented Minority Physician-Scientists to Success. Acad Med. 2022 Apr 1;97(4):497-502. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000004402. PMID: 34495889.

  • Santiago-Delgado Z, Rojas DP, Campbell KM. Pseudoleadership as a contributor to the URM faculty experience. J Natl Med Assoc. 2022 Dec 20:S0027-9684(22)00181-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jnma.2022.11.003. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36549945.

  • Yoo A, Auinger P, Tolbert J, Paul D, Lyness JM, George BP. Institutional Variability in Representation of Women and Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups Among Medical School Faculty. JAMA Netw Open. 2022 Dec 1;5(12):e2247640. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.47640. PMID: 36538331; PMCID: PMC9857368.

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