WEDNESDAY, May 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Black and Hispanic residents are more common in obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) than in surgical and nonsurgical specialties, according to a research letter published online May 19 in JAMA Network Open.

Claudia L. López, M.D., from the University of California at Davis, and colleagues evaluated the current composition and trends in race and ethnicity among OBGYN, surgical, and nonsurgical residents. The analysis included 520,116 U.S. medical residents identified from the JAMA Medical Education reports (2014 to 2019).

The researchers found that for each year, OBGYN, surgical, and nonsurgical residents most commonly identified as White (2014 to 2015: 59.3 percent), followed by Asian (2014 to 2015: 26.6 percent), while Native American or Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander residents were the least represented in all residency categories (2014 to 2015: 0.3 percent). Each year, there was a higher proportion of OBGYN residents who identified as Black or Hispanic versus the proportion for surgical and nonsurgical specialties. During the five-year period, among OBGYN residents, there was a decrease observed in White residents (odds ratio, 0.96) and Black residents (odds ratio, 0.93) and an increase in those categorized as other or unknown race/ethnicity (odds ratio, 1.26).

“Our findings indicate that the diversity of OBGYN resident physicians still lagged behind the changing U.S. demographic characteristics,” the authors write. “As a diverse workforce is more likely to provide care for underserved populations and foster higher levels of trust, efforts to recruit and retain underrepresented individuals from racial/ethnic minority groups, such as Black, Hispanic, Native American or Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander individuals, within OBGYN are critical as we strive to close gaps in health disparities.”

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