Gender & Ethnic Diversity Still Lacking in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Professional Ranks

Newswise — Women and members of various ethnic groups are still significantly underrepresented in the medical field of physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), with only 39.23 percent of current residents being women and 10.59 percent identifying as Hispanic or Black. Diversity gaps must be addressed in recruitment efforts in the future, according to a new study presented this week at the Association of Academic Physiatrists Annual Meeting in Orlando.

Gender and ethnic diversity in medicine and medical education programs improve health outcomes when there is race concordance between patients and their physicians, and patients report increased satisfaction with their care. Despite these widely-known facts, women and several ethnic minorities are greatly underrepresented across multiple medical specialties.

Is PM&R any exception? A group of researchers set out to answer that question by analyzing self-reported gender and ethnicity data from medical school matriculants and residency applicants obtained from the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) database, and current resident demographic data gathered from the American Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

The study was inspired by observations that women and ethnic minority groups are underrepresented across medicine, said co-author Grant A. Dixon, a PM&R medical student at the University of Texas McGovern Medical School in Houston.

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