The future of neurosurgery: a white paper on the recruitment and retention of women in neurosurgery.
ABSTRACT PREFACE: The leadership of Women in Neurosurgery (WINS) has been asked by the Board of Directors of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) to compose a white paper on the recruitment and retention of female neurosurgical residents and practitioners. INTRODUCTION: Neurosurgery must attract the best and the brightest. Women now constitute a larger percentage of medical school classes than men, representing approximately 60% of each graduating medical school class. Neurosurgery is facing a potential crisis in the US workforce pipeline, with the number of neurosurgeons in the US (per capita) decreasing. WOMEN IN THE NEUROSURGERY WORKFORCE: The number of women entering neurosurgery training programs and the number of board-certified female neurosurgeons is not increasing. Personal anecdotes demonstrating gender inequity abound among female neurosurgeons at every level of training and career development. Gender inequity exists in neurosurgery training programs, in the neurosurgery workplace, and within organized neurosurgery. OBSTACLES: The consistently low numbers of women in neurosurgery training programs and in the workplace results in a dearth of female role models for the mentoring of residents and junior faculty/practitioners. This lack of guidance contributes to perpetuation of barriers to women considering careers in neurosurgery, and to the lack of professional advancement experienced by women already in the field. There is ample evidence that mentors and role models play a critical role in the training and retention of women faculty within academic medicine. The absence of a critical mass of female neurosurgeons in academic medicine may serve as a deterrent to female medical students deciding whether or not to pursue careers in neurosurgery. There is limited exposure to neurosurgery during medical school. Medical students have concerns regarding gender inequities (acceptance into residency, salaries, promotion, and achieving leadership positions). Gender inequity in academic medicine is not unique to neurosurgery; nonetheless, promotion to full professor, to neurosurgery department chair, or to a national leadership position is exceedingly rare within neurosurgery. Bright, competent, committed female neurosurgeons exist in the workforce, yet they are not being promoted in numbers comparable to their male counterparts. No female neurosurgeon has ever been president of the AANS, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, or Society of Neurological Surgeons (SNS), or chair of the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS). No female neurosurgeon has even been on the ABNS or the Neurological Surgery Residency Review Committee and, until this year, no more than 2 women have simultaneously been members of the SNS. Gender inequity serves as a barrier to the advancement of women within both academic and community-based neurosurgery. STRATEGIC APPROACH TO ADDRESS ISSUES IDENTIFIED: To overcome the issues identified above, the authors recommend that the AANS join WINS in implementing a strategic plan, as follows: 1) Characterize the barriers. 2) Identify and eliminate discriminatory practices in the recruitment of medical students, in the training of residents, and in the hiring and advancement of neurosurgeons. 3) Promote women into leadership positions within organized neurosurgery. 4) Foster the development of female neurosurgeon role models by the training and promotion of competent, enthusiastic, female trainees and surgeons.
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: OBJECT The objective of this study is to determine neurosurgery residency attrition rates by sex of matched applicant and by type and rank of medical school attended. METHODS The study follows a cohort of 1361 individuals who matched into a neurosurgery residency program through the SF Match Fellowship and Residency Matching Service from 1990 to 1999. The main outcome measure was achievement of board certification as documented in the American Board of Neurological Surgery Directory of Diplomats. A secondary outcome measure was documentation of practicing medicine as verified by the American Medical Association DoctorFinder and National Provider Identifier websites. Overall, 10.7% (n = 146) of these individuals were women. Twenty percent (n = 266) graduated from a top 10 medical school (24% of women [35/146] and 19% of men [232/1215], p = 0.19). Forty-five percent (n = 618) were graduates of a public medical school, 50% (n = 680) of a private medical school, and 5% (n = 63) of an international medical school. At the end of the study, 0.2% of subjects (n = 3) were deceased and 0.3% (n = 4) were lost to follow-up. RESULTS The total residency completion rate was 86.0% (n = 1171) overall, with 76.0% (n = 111/146) of women and 87.2% (n = 1059/1215) of men completing residency. Board certification was obtained by 79.4% (n = 1081) of all individuals matching into residency between 1990 and 1999. Overall, 63.0% (92/146) of women and 81.3% (989/1215) of men were board certified. Women were found to be significantly more at risk (p < 0.005) of not completing residency or becoming board certified than men. Public medical school alumni had significantly higher board certification rates than private and international alumni (82.2% for public [508/618]; 77.1% for private [524/680]; 77.8% for international [49/63]; p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in attrition for graduates of top 10-ranked institutions versus other institutions. There was no difference in number of years to achieve neurosurgical board certification for men versus women. CONCLUSIONS Overall, neurosurgery training attrition rates are low. Women have had greater attrition than men during and after neurosurgery residency training. International and private medical school alumni had higher attrition than public medical school alumni.Journal of Neurosurgery 11/2014; 122(2):1-10. DOI:10.3171/2014.10.JNS132436 · 3.23 Impact Factor
Article: Women in NeuromodulationNeuromodulation 02/2014; 17(2). DOI:10.1111/ner.12160 · 1.79 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: To determine whether gender differences in individual National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards and in funding totals exist in ophthalmology, and to further characterize whether factors such as experience, academic rank, and terminal degree play a role. A retrospective review of awards granted to primary investigators (PIs) in ophthalmology departments from 2011 through the present was conducted. PIs were classified by gender, degree, experience, and academic position. The NIH funding database was used to gather award data. Academic medical center. Men had higher mean NIH awards ($418,605) than their female colleagues ($353,170; p = 0.005) and had higher total funding per PI (p = 0.004). Men had statistically higher awards at the level of assistant professor than their female counterparts (p < 0.05). A gender difference was statistically significant and most marked among researchers holding an MD (or equivalent) degree. When controlled for publication experience, men had higher NIH awards throughout their careers, although this difference only reached statistical significance on comparison of faculty with 10 or fewer years of experience. Male PIs receiving grants since 2011 had higher awards than their female colleagues did, most markedly among PIs in the earlier portions of their career. Differences in gender representation among senior faculty and in positions of leadership in academic ophthalmology may be partially a result of disparities in research output, as scholarly productivity is an important component of the academic advancement process in ophthalmology.Journal of Surgical Education 04/2014; 71(5). DOI:10.1016/j.jsurg.2014.01.020 · 1.39 Impact Factor