TUESDAY, Sept. 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) — From 1999 to 2016, the percentage of women in internal medicine residencies increased, but the percentage in subspecialty fellowships decreased, according to a research letter published online Sept. 23 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Anna T. Stone, M.D., from St. Vincent Hospital and Heart Center in Indianapolis, and colleagues examined changes in the internal medicine subspecialty choices of women and men from 1991 to 2016. Data were extracted for nine internal medicine subspecialties.

The researchers note that 30.2 and 69.8 percent of the residents in internal medicine were women and men, respectively, in 1991. Of the 7,986 residents in subspecialty fellowships, 33.3 and 66.7 percent were women and men, respectively. In 2016, 43.2 and 56.8 percent of the 23,664 residents in internal medicine were women and men, respectively, and 23.6 and 76.4 percent of the 19,868 residents in subspecialty fellowships were women and men, respectively. Despite this decrease, the percentage of women entering each of the nine subspecialty fields increased over time, with variation between specialty and between years. Compared with cardiology, the percentage of women in all other subspecialties increased at a faster rate (endocrinology, 0.96 percent; gastroenterology, geriatric medicine, rheumatology, and hematology and oncology, about 0.5 percent; and infectious disease and nephrology, about 0.3 percent).

“Cardiology had the lowest percentage of women, which is an important issue that the cardiology profession should continue to address,” the authors write.

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