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Research Letter |

Changes in Sex and Ethnic Diversity in Dermatology Residents Over Multiple Decades

Gordon Bae, BA1; Mengting Qiu2; Erin Reese, MPH1; Vinod Nambudiri, MD, MBA1; Susan Huang, MD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Department of Dermatology, Boston, Massachusettes
2Harvard College, Department of Biology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(1):92-94. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.4441.
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This Research Letter analyzes sex and ethnicity trends among dermatology residents and compares them with other specialties and medical school graduates over multiple decades, highlighting the need for greater ethnic diversity among dermatologists.

Increased ethnic diversity of physicians is associated with increased access to health care for underserved communities, better anticipation of patient needs, and acceleration of medical research.1 Similarly, sex concordance between physicians and patients can improve communication and patient satisfaction.2 Although sex and ethnic diversity of US physicians have both increased over the past several decades, not all clinical specialties have been impacted equally. To better characterize the dermatology field’s evolution during this time period, we analyzed sex and ethnicity trends among dermatology residents and compared them with other specialties and medical school graduates over multiple decades.

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Figure 1.
Population Comparisons: Sex

A, Thirty-six year trend in sex diversity of various medical specialties and medical school graduating class.There is a steady linear increase in the proportion of female trainees in all groups as shown by the line of best-fit. Ob/gyn indicates obstetrics/gynecology. B, Comparison of current gender composition of various specialties and medical school graduating class. The national medical school average of female residents is 48.1%, as shown by the horizontal dashed line. Dermatology and ob/gyn are the only 2 specialties with significantly greater proportions of female residents compared to the national medical school average.

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Figure 2.
Population Comparisons: Ethnicity

A, Proportion of nonwhite population between dermatology residents and medical school graduating class over 19 years. The dotted lines show the line of best fit for the 2 groups. There is a significant increase over the years analyzed only in the nonwhite proportion of the national medical school graduates. B, Comparison of current ethnic composition of various medical specialties and graduating medical school class. Currently, orthopedic surgery has the highest percentage of whites while internal medicine has the lowest percentage of whites. Dermatology has a significantly higher percentage of white residents compared with the national medical school graduate population.

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