Diversity & Inclusion Remain Elusive in Dermatology Residencies

By Tamara Thomas - March 3, 2023

The representation of Black and Latinx resident trainees in dermatology is lower than in other specialties, and diversity trends in the field have not improved over the past 15 years, according to a study published in JAMA dermatology.

According to the researchers, the unequal representation of racial and ethnic minorities in the field of medicine can be explained by the concept of the “leaky pipeline.” The leaky pipeline is a term used by researchers to describe the reduction of underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities at each step of the journey toward becoming a doctor. This causes significant disparities in representation within the medical field.

For this study, Jazzmin Williams and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study to examine the racial and ethnic diversity trends among dermatology resident trainees and applicants compared with other specialties.

The study analyzed data obtained from a special report published by the Association of American Medical Colleges of trainees’ and applicants’ self-reported race and ethnicity by specialty from 2005 to 2020.

The study included a total of 851 applicants from 2005 and 1170 in 2019. There were also 342 and 456 matriculating trainees (postgraduate year [PGY]-2s) from 2006 and 2020, respectively.

The study found that Black and Latinx medical trainees were underrepresented in the field of dermatology compared to other medical specialties. According to the data published, the difference between the number of Black and Latinx trainees in dermatology and other medical specialties (primary care and specialty care) was statistically significant.
Furthermore, the researchers found that between 2005 and 2020, there was no change in the number of black trainees in dermatology; however, there was a decrease in primary and specialty care. For Latinx trainees, there was no change in dermatology and specialty care, but there was an increase in primary care.

According to the findings, from 2005 to 2020, the number of Black and Latinx people applying for dermatology residency increased, but the proportion of those who actually started their training was lower than the number of applicants. Specifically, Black and Latinx individuals made up a smaller percentage of second-year dermatology residents (PGY-2s) than the percentage of Black or Latinx people who applied.

However, the percentage of White people in dermatology residency training is higher than that of White people who apply for these positions. For Asian trainees, the researchers found that the percentage of Asian people in dermatology training is about the same as that of Asian people who apply.

In response to these findings, the study’s authors emphasized the importance of dermatologists taking action at various stages of education, such as during residency selection and mentorship, to enhance diversity effectively.

“Dermatologists committed to increasing workforce diversity can advocate for equitable school policies and mentor underrepresented students of all ages to promote interest in dermatology and advancement throughout the educational pathway,” they added.

Latest News

October 3, 2023