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SheMD Journal Club: Emergency Medicine Gender in Resident Leadership Study (EM GIRLS)

Updated: Feb 25, 2023

Here at sheMD, we believe in the importance of practicing Evidence-Based Medicine. We believe the same principles apply to discussing Gender and Medical Education. Therefore, we are bringing you an entire Journal Club series! Our series focuses on foundational and new literature within the gender and medicine space.

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Why is this article important?

  • Emergency medicine is continuing to increase the percentage of female physicians in the field. Proportionately female EM chief residents represent a larger number than what is seen in the class breakdown. This is good for the future of female EM leadership as chief resident status is often seen as a stepping stone to academia.

Article Summary

What they looked at:

  • An observational study was performed of female EM residents and female EM chief residents. A list of all ACGME EM residencies was obtained. An email survey collected responses on proportions of female residents and female chief residents stratified by length of training program.

What were their outcomes:

  • 182/223 programs responded

  • The average number of all EM residents was 36.6 residents per program and the average number of female EM residents was 13.8 residents per program.

  • Average number of all EM chief residents was 3.2 per program and the average number of female EM chief residents was 1.4 per program.

  • 37.0% of current EM residents and female EM chief residents account for 42.2% (250/593) of current EM chief residents in our study sample. Compared to the proportion of female EM attending physicians at 27.5% (11,658/42,315) there are significantly more female EM residents.

Why do we care about this article?

  • Becoming a chief resident is often thought to be the next step toward an academic career. Increasing numbers of chief residents are females, and this may help close the gender leadership gap in EM academia.

  • Based on current data the number of female residents and female chief residents is greater than what is seen in female attendings. This may be due to multiple factors, but one being that EM is becoming more open to females as a whole.

Take Home Point

  • The proportion of female EM residents is much lower than male residents. However, female chief residents represent a higher ratio when compared to the number of male and female EM residents. Increased numbers of female chief residents is a good thing. Obtaining chief resident status is thought to be a stepping point to a career in academia. With larger proportions of female chief residents there may be hope of large proportions of balancing the gender leadership gap in EM academia.

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