Underrepresented Minorities in General Surgery Residency: Analysis of Interviewed Applicants, Residents, and Core Teaching Faculty

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Journal Title

Journal of the American College of Surgeons

MeSH Headings

Adult; Education, Medical, Graduate (methods); Ethnicity; Faculty, Medical; Female; General Surgery (education); Humans; Internship and Residency (methods); Male; Middle Aged; Minority Groups; Retrospective Studies; United States


BACKGROUND: The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) requires diversity in residency. The self-identified race/ethnicities of general surgery applicants, residents, and core teaching faculty were assessed to evaluate underrepresented minority (URM) representation in surgery residency programs and to determine the impact of URM faculty and residents on URM applicants' selection for interview or match. STUDY DESIGN: Data from the 2018 application cycle were collated for 10 general surgery programs. Applicants without a self-identified race/ethnicity were excluded. URMs were defined as those identifying as black/African American, Hispanic/Latino/of Spanish origin, and American Indian/Alaskan Native/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander-Samoan. Statistical analyses included chi-square tests and a multivariate model. RESULTS: Ten surgery residency programs received 9,143 applications from 3,067 unique applicants. Applications from white, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, black/African American, and American Indian applicants constituted 66%, 19%, 8%, 7% and 1%, respectively, of those applications selected to interview and 66%, 13%, 11%, 8%, and 2%, respectively, of applications resulting in a match. Among programs' 272 core faculty and 318 current residents, 10% and 21%, respectively, were identified as URMs. As faculty diversity increased, there was no difference in selection to interview for URM (odds ratio [OR] 0.83; 95% CI 0.54 to 1.28, per 10% increase in faculty diversity) or non-URM applicants (OR 0.68; 95% CI 0.57 to 0.81). Similarly, greater URM representation among current residents did not affect the likelihood of being selected for an interview for URM (OR 1.20; 95%CI 0.90 to 1.61) vs non-URM applicants (OR 1.28; 95% CI 1.13 to 1.45). Current resident and faculty URM representation was correlated (r = 0.8; p = 0.005). CONCLUSIONS: Programs with a greater proportion of URM core faculty or residents did not select a greater proportion of URM applicants for interview. However, core faculty and resident racial diversity were correlated. Recruitment of racially/ethnically diverse trainees and faculty will require ongoing analysis to develop effective recruitment strategies.

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