Women accounted for the majority of graduate medical education (GME) trainees in seven specialties in 2012 but in no specialties were the percentages of black or Hispanic trainees comparable with the representation of these groups in the U.S. population, according to a research letter published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.
Diversifying the physician workforce in the United States is an ongoing goal.
Curtiland Deville, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and coauthors used publicly reported data to assess the representation of women and historically underrepresented minority groups in medicine (URMs), which include blacks and Hispanics.
The results indicate that in 2012 there were:
Among specialties in 2012, the percentage of female trainees was lowest for orthopedics (13.8 percent) and highest for pediatrics (73.5 percent) and obstetrics and gynecology (82.4 percent). Women also accounted for more than 50 percent of GME trainees in five other specialties: dermatology (64.4 percent), internal medicine/pediatrics (58.2 percent); family medicine (55.2 percent), pathology (54.6 percent) and psychiatry (54.5 percent), according to the results.
The percentage of black trainees was lowest for otolaryngology (2.2 percent) and highest for family medicine (7.5 percent) and obstetrics and gynecology (10.3 percent), the authors report.
The percentage of Hispanic trainees was lowest for ophthalmology (3.6 percent) and highest for psychiatry (9.3 percent), family medicine (9 percent), obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics (each 8.7 percent), the results also show.
"Continued efforts are needed to increase the diversity of the physician workforce in the United States, particularly in the specialties with the lowest representations of women, blacks or Hispanics," the authors conclude.
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