Radiology field still short on female, minority docs

Women and minorities remain underrepresented in the field of medicine and, more specifically, in the specialty of radiology, according to a study recently published in the journal Radiology.

Using data obtained from the American Medical Association, the Journal of the American Medical Association supplements and the American Association of Medical Colleges--as well as U.S. census registries for 2010 for practicing physicians, academic faculty, residents, subspecialty trainees, residency applicants, and medical school graduates--the researchers found that women and minorities (comprising blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders) are significantly underrepresented in medicine.

For example, while women make up 50.8 percent of the U.S. population, they are underrepresented as practicing physicians (23.5 percent), academic faculty (26.1 percent) and diagnostic radiology residents (27.8 percent). And while the underrepresented minorities account for about 30 percent of the U.S. population, they make up just 6.5 percent of practicing physicians, 5.9 percent of academic faculty, and 8.3 percent of radiology residents.

As a specialty, radiology fared poorly compared to other specialties regarding women and minority participation. According to the study, among the 20th largest specialties, diagnostic radiology ranked 17th in female participation and dead last in minority participation.

Furthermore, the researchers found that over the last eight years, there has been no significant increase in the number of female or underrepresented minority residents, "suggesting no dramatic change in future representation as practicing physicians."

"Radiology ranks at the bottom or near the bottom for specific groups, whether you're looking at women, blacks, Hispanics, or all underrepresented minorities combined; it ranks 6th to 20th for all those groups," co-author Curtiland Deville, M.D., told AuntMinnie.com. "[F]or whatever reason, even though there is some representation in medical schools, it doesn't seem to be translating into diagnostic radiology."

The authors concluded that future research and training efforts should address increasing resident diversity.

To learn more:
- read the study in Radiology
- see the article in AuntMinnie.com

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