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Research Letter
January 2016

Changes in Sex and Ethnic Diversity in Dermatology Residents Over Multiple Decades

Author Affiliations
  • 1Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Department of Dermatology, Boston, Massachusettes
  • 2Harvard College, Department of Biology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(1):92-94. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.4441

Increased ethnic diversity of physicians is associated with increased access to health care for underserved communities, better anticipation of patient needs, and acceleration of medical research.1 Similarly, sex concordance between physicians and patients can improve communication and patient satisfaction.2 Although sex and ethnic diversity of US physicians have both increased over the past several decades, not all clinical specialties have been impacted equally. To better characterize the dermatology field’s evolution during this time period, we analyzed sex and ethnicity trends among dermatology residents and compared them with other specialties and medical school graduates over multiple decades.

Thirty-six years of self-reported ethnicity and 19 years of self-reported sex composition data of American College of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-registered dermatology, internal medicine, emergency medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, ophthalmology, general surgery, and orthopedic surgery residents were obtained from the National Graduate Medical Education Census.3 Similar ethnic and sex composition data of graduating medical school classes were obtained from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Data Book.4 Ethnic groups were defined as white, Asian, African American, Hispanic, or other. Respondents could choose more than 1 category. The categories for sex were male or female. Changes in sex and ethnic compositions were analyzed across the periods for which data were available. Institutional review board approval was waived by the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, because only publicly accessible data was used.