A Critical Analysis of Gender and Racial Representation of Invited Speakers from the Northeastern Society of Plastic Surgery (NESPS) Meetings over a Nine-Year Period
Michael Ha1, Seray Er2, Jason O. Ejimogu2, Emily R. Finkelstein3, Richard D. Smith2 , Joshua Yoon1, Yvonne M. Rasko1
1University of Maryland, Division of Plastic Surgery, Baltimore, MD; 2University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD; 3University of Miami Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Miami, FL
Background: Medical conferences not only provide a means to present current research in a field, but act as a visual cross section of their participants and leaders. As the need for increased representation from both women and people of color remains a topic of discussion within the plastic surgery community, conferences may act as a potential demonstration of this diversity. The aim of this study was to determine the demographic of the invited speakers from the Northeastern Society of Plastic Surgery (NESPS) annual meeting for nine consecutive years.
Methods: Documented speakerís names, roles, institution, and allotted time for presentation were extracted from publicly available, online meeting programs between the years 2011 and 2019. The gender, ethnicity, and academic productivity (H-index, number of published manuscripts, academic title) of each speaker was collected using doximity, scopus and institutional profiles. Differences in opportunities to present and academic credentials were then compared between both gender and ethnic groups over this five-year period. Significance was set at a P-value of less than 0.05.
Results: A total of 1,049 speaker positions were filled between 2011 and 2019, 906 abstract presenters and 143 invited speakers. The proportion of invited speakers filled by women has trended upwards since 2011 (13%), with 36% of speakers being women in 2019 (p = 0.020). However, no significant change has been seen over time in the number of invited presenters of color, which averages 16% over the nine years (p = 0.386). Though the number of abstract presenters of color have increased significantly from 20% to 43% in the study period (p = 0.020), there has not been a significant change in Hispanic (4%) or Black (3%) abstract first authors. Every year, New York remains the state with the highest proportion of representation of speakers (40%). However, in recent year, the institution the have the greatest representation is Johns Hopkins University (8% in 2018 and 2019).
Conclusions: There has been a significant increase in number of invited female speakers and abstract presenters of color in the last decade. However, these populations remain underrepresented overall as speakers during this annual regional conference. Equalizing representation of gender and race in academic meetings may be an important step in achieving a more diverse community of plastic surgeons for years to come.
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