Background: Gender and race disparities in academic plastic surgery are known, but in recent years a change in culture has been promoted by professional societies. This study aims to evaluate the effects of these changes at faculty and leadership positions.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in June 2018 to evaluate gender and race representation among academic plastic surgery faculty of programs accredited by the ACGME. Online faculty profiles, Doximity, LinkedIn, private-practice, and public records websites were used to obtain faculty data and compare demographics, career qualifications, years of experience, and faculty positions.
Results: Overall, women represented 19.8% of all academic plastic surgeons. Female academic plastic surgeons were significantly more likely to be an assistant professor [OR:2.19, (95%CI:1.58-3.05)], and significantly less likely to be a full professor [OR:0.20, (95%CI:0.11-0.35)] or program chair [OR:0.32, (95%CI:0.16-0.65)]. After adjustment for years of post-residency experience, only disparities at the full professor position remained [OR:0.34; (95%CI:0.16-0.47)], highlighting the importance of cohort experience. Non-white plastic surgeons held 25.1% of all academic positions. Non-white plastic surgeons were significantly less likely to hold the full professor position [OR:0.60, (95%CI:0.14-0.88)], despite being more likely to have had prior fellowship training [OR:1.62, (95%CI:1.16-2.26)] and microsurgery fellowship training [OR:1.78, (95%CI:1.24-2.54)]. Programs with a non-white chair had a significantly greater proportion of non-white faculty (40.5% versus 20.5%; p<0.0001) and more equitable career outcomes for non-white faculty (non-white chair=22.7% increase in non-white full-professors; p<0.0001).
Conclusion: As these faculty cohorts mature, a more equitable distribution of career outcomes may occur. However, the unequal appointment and advancement of faculty by program leadership indicates there are still issues which must be addressed.
Previously Presented: 35th Annual Meeting of the Northeastern Society of Plastic Surgeons
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