There has been a recent, stagnant trend of genderism in the field of gastroenterology. These findings, from a 12-year longitudinal study, were published in Gastroenterology.

Investigators assessed trends of gender representation in gastroenterology applicants, fellows, practicing gastroenterologists, and leadership positions at 158 gastroenterology fellowship programs in North America, between 2009 and 2018.

There were 397,634 applications from 7672 applicants included in this analysis. Women made up 54% of medical school applications, 49% of matriculants, and 48% of graduates. Among internal medicine residents, the proportion was lower at 44% and for gastroenterology fellows, only 33% were women. These trends remained consistent over time.


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Unlike applications, the proportion of practicing gastroenterologists increased from 11% in 2009 to 19% in 2018.

For leadership positions, the proportion of women who were internal medicine Department Chairs doubled from 17% to 33% (P =.0003) and who were gastroenterology Associate Fellowship Program Directors increased from 31% to 39% (P =.17). There was no change in the proportion of women in gastroenterology Division Chief (12%-13%) or Fellowship Program Director (24%) positions.

Institutions that had a woman in the position of internal medicine Department Chair were more likely to also have a woman in the role of gastroenterology Division Chair (odds ratio [OR], 3.5; 95% CI, 1.4-8.9; P =.009) and gastroenterology Fellowship Program Directors (OR, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.2-6.9; P =.02).

Most fellowship programs (87%) were affiliated with hospitals or institutions with diversity offices and programs; however, fewer than half of these programs (46%) had gender-specific missions. No significant link between diversity programs and women in positions of leadership were observed (P >.1).

These data indicated that although half of the medical school population were women, fewer entered the internal medicine or gastroenterology specialties. Establishing and maintaining gender equity in the field of gastroenterology is needed. Additional study is warranted to determine which aspects of specialization are discouraging women from entering into internal medicine and gastroenterology.

Disclosure: An author declared affiliations with industry. Please refer to the original article for a full list of disclosures.

Reference

Tse CS, Hinds S, Nguyen H, Moss SF, Bhagra A. A 12-Year North American longitudinal study of gender equity and equality in gastroenterology. Gastroenterol. 2022;162(1)63-67. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2021.10.031