Proportion of women speakers (dark blue line) and proportion of total speaking time for women (orange line) for even years between 2010 and 2018.
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Mujahid N, Song H, Li DG, Joyce C, Mostaghimi A. Trends in Gender of Speakers at the American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting, 2010-2018. JAMA Dermatol. 2019;155(3):383–384. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.5466
The proportion of women in dermatology residencies has been consistently greater than 60%1; however, gender imbalance and underrepresentation of women in leadership roles persist.2 This study evaluates trends in the number of female speakers and associated presentation times at a dermatology national meeting.
A retrospective review of American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Annual Meeting schedules for even years between 2010 and 2018 was performed to identify presenters and presentation times at plenary sessions, symposiums, focus sessions, and forum talks. Time was divided equally per presenter for multiple-speaker sessions. Speakers were excluded if they lacked United States medical licensure (n = 314), demographic information on a state board website (n = 10), or a clear match from a Web-based search (n = 23).
Gender, terminal degrees, medical school graduation year, and board certifications in 2017 (2010-2016 conference years) or 2018 (2018 conference year) were recorded. Practice locations were determined by searching speaker names on Google. Demographic information was obtained through the corresponding state’s medical licensing board site. This project was approved by the Partners Human Research Committee institutional review board.
The proportion of female speakers and female speaking time was calculated for each conference year. Descriptive statistics were presented for the sample of speakers at AAD Annual Meetings between 2010 and 2018. Linear mixed effect regression was used to estimate mean differences in minutes speaking and included random intercepts for the speaker to account for correlations owing to individuals presenting multiple times per conference or over time. Analyses were performed using SAS, version 9.4 (SAS Institute Inc).
Across 4 conferences, 1410 unique speakers presented 4671 times, or a median of 2 times (interquartile range [IQR]: 1-4 times). Most speakers held doctor of medicine degrees (3976 [85.1%]); others held both doctor of medicine and doctor of philosophy degrees (513 [11.0%]), and some had other degrees (182 [3.9%]). Additionally, 3745 speakers presented more than 10 years after their medical school graduation (81.1%), and 803 presented within 10 years of their graduation (17.4%); 4396 speakers were board certified in dermatology (94.1%).
Median speaker time was 24 minutes (IQR: 20-30 minutes) with a median number of 5 speakers (IQR: 4-7 speakers) per session (Table). In univariable analysis, the mean presentation time was 34.8 minutes for men and 36.0 minutes for women (mean difference, −1.24 minutes; SE, 1.21; P = .31). The difference in presentation time for men vs women was similar after adjusting for board certifications, time since graduation, and degree (mean difference, −1.49 minutes; SE, 1.26; P = .24). The percentage of female speakers and their allotted presentation time have increased consistently from 2010 (43.6% and 43.6%, respectively) to 2018 (53.8% and 57.0%, respectively) (Figure).
These data suggest that representation of female speakers at the AAD Annual Meetings has steadily increased since 2010, with the proportion of female presenters nearing the proportion of women in dermatology residencies by 2018. Gender did not predict speaking time when adjusting for graduation date and board certification. These gains distinguish dermatology from other medical specialties, such as obstetrics and gynecology at Australian conferences (71.3% vs 42%), which have not demonstrated a similar trend for female speakers.3-6
Our cohort was limited to the speakers at the AAD Annual Meetings who have practiced in the United States, and we were unable to account for faculty rank at the time of presentation, which may have an influence on differences in speaking time. As talks at national meetings and publications are leading indicators for academic promotion, we hope that these findings translate to greater representation of women at the highest levels of academic dermatology.
Accepted for Publication: November 15, 2018.
Corresponding Author: Arash Mostaghimi, MD, MPA, MPH, Department of Dermatology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 15 Francis St, PBB-B 421, Boston, MA 02115 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Published Online: February 6, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.5466
Author Contributions: Ms Mujahid and Dr Mostaghimi had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.
Study concept and design: Mujahid, Song, Mostaghimi.
Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.
Drafting of the manuscript: Mujahid, Song, Li, Joyce.
Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Mujahid, Song, Li, Mostaghimi.
Statistical analysis: Li, Joyce, Mostaghimi.
Obtained funding: Li.
Administrative, technical, or material support: Song, Mostaghimi.
Study supervision: Mostaghimi.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Li reports support from National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (TL1TR001062). No other disclosures are reported.
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