Gender and Ethnic Diversity in Academic PM&R Faculty: National Trend Analysis of Two Decades

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Abstract

Over the years, a number of studies have demonstrated an increase in gender and ethnic diversity among US physicians. Despite substantial progress in eliminating gender and racial inequities in the field of medicine, women and ethnic minorities are still underrepresented among medical faculty at academic institutions. This study aims to describe the trends in gender and ethnic diversity among Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) faculty through statistical analysis of data describing gender and ethnicity of full-time academic faculty gathered from the Association of American Medical Colleges Faculty Roster from 1994 to 2014. Proportions representing the percentages of females and ethnic minorities of a given faculty position in medical schools were compared across each of the other faculty ranks. Results showed that the average yearly percent increases in the proportion of female PM&R faculty in associate professor (0.68%) and full professor (0.54%) positions were greater than those in instructor (0.30%) and assistant professor (0.35%) positions. In contrast, the average yearly percent increase in the proportion of non-Caucasian PM&R faculty in full professor positions (0.19%) was less than those in instructor (0.84%), assistant (0.93%), and associate professor (0.89%) positions. Overall, trends among faculty exhibit a steady increase in gender and ethnic diversity, although promotion disparity continues to exist among specific academic positions for some groups. This study provides a current perspective on recent changes in diversity among faculty in PM&R and may prove useful when defining strategies to improve workforce diversity.

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