Gender differences among surgical fellowship program directors



      Although women are increasingly represented in American surgery, data regarding sex and academic rank of the leadership of fellowship programs are lacking.


      Demographics and academic ranks for fellowship program directors were analyzed for 811 surgery fellowship programs across 14 specialties. Associations between academic rank and sex were assessed using a χ2 independence test. Correlation between subspecialty compensation and percentage of female fellowship program directors was assessed using Pearson r.


      Women represented 18% of all fellowship program directors. Eighteen percent of fellowship program directors were assistant professors (25% women vs 17% men, P = .049), 36% were associate professors (39% women vs 35% men, P = .379), and 46% were full professors (36% women vs 48% men, P = .018). The percentage of women program directors was greatest in breast surgery (65%) and least in minimally invasive surgery (6%). There was a negative correlation between subspecialty compensation and percentage of female fellowship program directors (r = –0.62, P = .04).


      Women are underrepresented among surgery fellowship program directors. Female fellowship program directors had lesser academic ranks compared with males. It remains unclear whether women surgeons achieve program director appointments at lesser academic ranks or if promotion among fellowship program directors is influenced by sex.
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