Background: Cross-sectional studies demonstrate that women are often under-represented in key-leadership roles. We sought to examine the proportion of women in cardiology leadership positions and to compare the findings with the disparity prevalent in the overall cardiology faculty. Furthermore, we aspired to compare the proportion of women in leadership positions to the proportion in which they entered the cardiology field.
Methods: Cardiology fellowship training programs of all teaching hospitals of the United States were identified from Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database (AMA FREIDA). Program directors and division chiefs were identified from the institutions’ websites, and their research statistics and years of graduation were extracted from Scopus and Doximity.
Results: Data of all (n=512) cardiology fellowship program directors, as well as 69% (n=140) of cardiology division chiefs were collected. A lower percentage of women held the role of division chief (5% vs. 95%) or program director (14% vs. 86%). However, when compared to the proportion of women in the 1992 fellowship cohort, women were significantly overrepresented in the role of program directors, with no significant difference in representation at the level of division chief. When compared to the overall cardiology faculty, program directors had significantly more publications and were more likely to have an academic rank of full professor (40% vs. 28%) or associate professor (37% vs. 23%). Male program directors had a significantly higher number of research publications, H-index and academic rank than their female counterparts; however, such difference was not seen at the level of division chief.
Conclusion: Gender disparity is present in both cardiology program director and division chief roles. However, when compared to the historical cohort, significant overrepresentation of women was seen in the program director position, while proportionate representation was seen in the division chief role.