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  • Ophthalmology Faculty: Diversity Needed

    By Lynda Seminara
    Selected By: Stephen D. McLeod, MD

    Journal Highlights

    Ophthalmology, August 2021

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    Fairless et al. assessed the ethnic demographics of the faculty members in U.S. medical school departments. They found that ophthalmology departments have among the fewest minority faculty members (6.8%). In contrast, the obstetrics and gynecology sector has the most (15.7%).

    For this study, the researchers ana­lyzed data from the 2019 faculty roster of the Association of American Medical Colleges. The proportions of under­represented minority (URM) faculty, including chairs, were calculated for ophthalmology and 17 other clinical departments. In addition, the percent­age of URM ophthalmology faculty was compared with the proportion of URM persons among graduates of medical schools and with the U.S. population at large. For this study, URM denoted persons who are Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.

    The dataset included nearly 158,000 faculty members. Of these, 3,060 were from ophthalmology departments. URM prevalence was significantly higher among all faculty combined (9.8%) than in the ophthalmology sector (6.8%). Moreover, ethnic di­versity was lower for ophthalmology faculty than for graduating medical students or the overall U.S. population. Of the 18 medi­cal departments studied, ophthal­mology had the third-lowest per­centage of URM faculty; only radiology and orthopedics fell further behind. The difference between ophthal­mology and other departments was statistically significant for 12 of the 18 comparisons.

    To achieve parity with other clinical education programs and the diverse populations that physicians serve, work is needed to increase URM ophthal­mology faculty, said the authors.

    The original article can be found here.