Gender And Ethnicity Disparities Within Plastic Surgery Leadership: A Role For Enhanced Mentorship
Jennifer L. McGrath, MD1, Linda G. Phillips, MD2, Arun K. Gosain, MD3.
1Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA, 2University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA, 3Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.
Mentorship plays a vital role in the career development of young surgeons. We aim to evaluate gender and ethnicity representation in plastic surgery (PS) leadership compared to the field as a whole in an effort to improve structured mentorship avenues.
Sixteen national PS organizations were reviewed for gender and ethnicity (self-identified) data within their leadership, and for structured mentorship pathways. Resident and student data were compiled from publically accessible ACGME and AAMC data.
Although women represent increasing proportions of both training and practicing plastic surgeons, they are underrepresented in many leadership roles; 4 of 16 boards and 10 of 14 presidential ascensions contain no women. African-Americans and Hispanics are severely underrepresented in leadership across the field (Table 1). 19% of programs offered structured mentorship programs, in which less than 7% of active members participated.
Based on the 16 major PS organizations:
1) There remains a discrepancy in female representation in executive leadership.
2) Leadership by self-identified African-Americans or Hispanics was absent within our major organizations, with African-Americans represented by a single Program Director.
3) Formal mentorship programs are meager and have limited participation, particularly by those groups who are most severely underrepresented in PS leadership.
We recommend that each major organization re-examine its ascension to leadership, and develop structured programs by which future leaders are identified and mentored.
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