Nav: Home

Diversity in graduate medical education; women majority in 7 specialties in 2012

August 24, 2015

Women accounted for the majority of graduate medical education (GME) trainees in seven specialties in 2012 but in no specialties were the percentages of black or Hispanic trainees comparable with the representation of these groups in the U.S. population, according to a research letter published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Diversifying the physician workforce in the United States is an ongoing goal.

Curtiland Deville, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and coauthors used publicly reported data to assess the representation of women and historically underrepresented minority groups in medicine (URMs), which include blacks and Hispanics.

The results indicate that in 2012 there were:
  • 688,468 practicing physicians; 30.1 percent were female; 9.2 percent were URMs, including 5.2 percent who were Hispanic and 3.8 percent who were black

  • 16,835 medical school graduates; 48.3 percent were female; 15.3 percent were URMs, including 7.4 percent who were Hispanic and 6.8 percent who were black

  • 115,111 trainees in GME; 46.1 percent were female; 13.8 percent were URMs, including 7.5 percent who were Hispanic and 5.8 percent who were black

Among specialties in 2012, the percentage of female trainees was lowest for orthopedics (13.8 percent) and highest for pediatrics (73.5 percent) and obstetrics and gynecology (82.4 percent). Women also accounted for more than 50 percent of GME trainees in five other specialties: dermatology (64.4 percent), internal medicine/pediatrics (58.2 percent); family medicine (55.2 percent), pathology (54.6 percent) and psychiatry (54.5 percent), according to the results.

The percentage of black trainees was lowest for otolaryngology (2.2 percent) and highest for family medicine (7.5 percent) and obstetrics and gynecology (10.3 percent), the authors report.

The percentage of Hispanic trainees was lowest for ophthalmology (3.6 percent) and highest for psychiatry (9.3 percent), family medicine (9 percent), obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics (each 8.7 percent), the results also show.

"Continued efforts are needed to increase the diversity of the physician workforce in the United States, particularly in the specialties with the lowest representations of women, blacks or Hispanics," the authors conclude.
(JAMA Intern Med. Published online August 24, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.4324. Available pre-embargo to the media at

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures

Commentary: Ensuring a Diverse Physician Workforce: Progress but More Work

In a related commentary, Laura E. Riley, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, writes: "Ensuring a diverse physician workforce will require the continuing attention of medical school leadership and health care systems, and interventions to provide opportunities for diverse physicians to join the leadership ranks. Increasing physician diversity is yet another opportunity to improve the quality of care for all of our patients, particularly the most disadvantaged and those with a disproportionate burden of disease." (JAMA Intern Med. Published online August 24, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.4333. Available pre-embargo to the media at

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures

Media Advisory: To contact study corresponding author Curtiland Deville, M.D., call Gary Stephenson at 202-660-6707 or email To contact commentary author Laura E. Riley, M.D., call McKenzie Ridings at 617 726-0274 or email

The JAMA Network Journals

Related Medicine Articles:

Two Baylor College of Medicine faculty members named to National Academy of Medicine
Dr. Malcolm Brenner and Dr. Cheryl Walker, both renowned leaders in their respective fields, were elected to membership in the National Academy of Medicine.
BGI and UW Medicine to collaborate on precision medicine development
BGI, one of the world's largest genomics organizations, and UW Medicine, the academic medical and health system at the University of Washington, have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on biomedical technology development.
Fighting against counterfeit medicine
Around the world, especially in developing nations, counterfeit medicines are a real problem.
Proteomics and precision medicine
Researchers at the University of Iowa have used personalized proteomics to devise a successful treatment strategy for a patient with uveitis, a potentially blinding eye disease that can have many causes, making it particularly difficult to diagnose and treat effectively.
Does defensive medicine work?
In six out of seven specialties, higher-spending physicians faced fewer malpractice claims, accounting for differences in patient case-mix across physicians.
How to crowdsource the world for emergency medicine
Two new studies, published online Tuesday in Annals of Emergency Medicine, illustrate the power of social media and the Internet to promote scholarly dialogue around the world and the importance of establishing criteria for what constitutes high-quality blogs and podcasts -- 'Global Emergency Medicine Journal Club: A Social Media Discussion About the ADJUST-PE Trial' and 'Emergency Medicine and Critical Care Blogs and Podcasts: Establishing an International Consensus on Quality.'
The new frontier in plasma medicine
Applications of plasmas in medicine are a new frontier in therapeutic treatment.
Focus on geriatric medicine
The study reported by Wolfgang von Renteln-Kruse et al. (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2015; 112: 103) investigated the clinical treatment of geriatric patients with cognitive impairment, who require an appropriate environment and appropriate care.
Advanced summer school in system medicine: Implementation of systems medicine across Europe
The Coordinating Action Systems Medicine is a joint initiative of the European Commission, several European funding bodies, companies, researchers and clinicians aiming to develop a strategic roadmap for implementing Systems Medicine across Europe.
Daylight is the best medicine, for nurses
For the health and happiness of nurses -- and for the best care of hospital patients -- new Cornell research suggests exposure to natural light may be the best medicine.

Related Medicine Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...