Gender Diversity Among Craniofacial Fellowship Faculty
Rivera JC, Long AS, Juan HY, Junn A, Hauc SC, Nguyen H, Persing J, Alperovich M,
Yale School of Medicine
Background: Despite modest improvement in the past decade, representation of women among academic plastic surgeons remains low. In 2019, only 19% of plastic surgery faculty positions were held by women, with even greater disparities in leadership positions. While data on gender disparities is available in the field of plastic surgery, less is known regarding individual specialties with separate fellowship training. A complete understanding of current gender distribution in faculty positions is essential to accurately design and measure the results of future efforts to improve the representation of women in craniofacial surgery.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of all 31 craniofacial fellowship programs in North America was performed in January 2022. Lists of programs and faculty members for 2022 were obtained from official program websites. The gender of all craniofacial faculty members was recorded, and gender distribution was compared between different geographic regions (West, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest).
Results: Among faculty at the 31 craniofacial fellowship programs recognized by the American Society of Craniofacial Surgeons, there are currently 122 craniofacial surgeons on faculty, of whom 19 (16%) were female, and 103 (84%) were male. Of the 31 programs, 13 (42%) had at least one female craniofacial surgeon as part of the faculty. The Midwest had the greatest percentage of female craniofacial surgeons 26.7 % while the South had the lowest percentage 11.1%. Among female faculty members, 12 (63%) were assistant professors, and 7 (37%) were either associate professor or professor. For males 30 (29%) were assistant professors, and 74 (71%) were either associate professor or professor.
Conclusion: While women now make up more than half of medical students, disparities in gender representation persist in many specialties in medicine, including plastic surgery. Our results show that representation of women in craniofacial surgery trails behind recently reported numbers for academic plastic surgery as a whole. Difficulty finding mentors, family responsibilities, and institutional biases have been cited as barriers to women reaching faculty and leadership roles in plastic surgery. Additional years of training in fellowship programs may compound these issues. Future studies are warranted to assess gender disparities in other subspecialities of plastic surgery and better understand the factors which prevent women from occupying faculty positions in craniofacial surgery.
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