The lack of underrepresented in medicine (UIM) physicians in academic plastic surgery is emerging as a critical issue. Lack of diversity has a negative effect on patient care and on the culture of our health care system. This study reports the current status of ethnically UIM physicians in the plastic surgery pipeline, starting from the medical student level and progressing to national leadership positions.
The Electronic Residency Applications Service, National Resident Matching Program, Association of American Medical Colleges, and professional Web sites for journals and national societies were accessed for racial demographic information from 2008 to 2019.
Over the past decade, there has been no change or a slight decrease in representation of Blacks among plastic surgery residency applicants, trainees, and academic faculty, at half or less than expected, compared with US Census data. The first point of drop-off occurs at the resident (3.8% of integrated and 5.6% of independent residents) to faculty level (<2.8%). Two percent of program directors and department heads/division chiefs are Black. The next point of drop-off occurs at the national level: there has never been a Black president of American Society of Plastic Surgeons or Plastic Surgery Foundation, and there are no Black editors-in-chiefs of major plastic surgery journals.Following LatinX American surgeons down the pipeline over the past decade, there has been no change or a decrease in representation among plastic surgery residency applicants, resident physicians, and academic faculty, at one-third or less than expected, compared with US Census data. The first point of drop-off occurs at the faculty (4.8%) to local leadership level (0% of program directors and department heads/division chiefs) where there is no representation of LatinX. Once this drop-off occurs, there is no recovery at the national leadership level.
In order for our profession to reflect our nation’s demographics, academic plastic surgery is in need of a paradigm shift now. Attrition of UIM physicians in plastic surgery begins at medical school graduation and persists through surgical training, faculty appointments, and attainment of leadership positions. Creative and innovative commitment to diversity and inclusion is necessary.

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