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US ophthalmology residency programs rank last for diversity, according to new study


A study by UC Davis Health of the racial and ethnic make-up of residency programs within the United States discovered that ophthalmology programs ranked last for recruitment from minority teams in contrast to different specialties. “Trends in Racial Diversity among United States Ophthalmology Residents” is printed in Ophthalmology.

“We know from previous research that a diverse medical workforce that reflects our patient population can lead to reduced health care inequalities, improved access to care, and better patient outcomes and satisfaction,” stated Parisa Emami-Naeini, senior writer of the study. Emami-Naeini is an Assistant Professor within the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science at UC Davis. “Our study shows that ophthalmology does not reflect the diversity of our country.”

Underrepresented minority teams are outlined as racial and ethnic populations within the medical subject which can be underrepresented relative to their numbers within the common inhabitants.

According to the study, underrepresented minorities made up about 19% of medical college students however solely 6.3% of ophthalmology residency programs. Nationally underrepresented minorities account for solely 7.2% of practising ophthalmologists within the United States.

A bar chart showing 18 different US residency programs.  Public health and preventive medicine are at the top of the chart, showing the highest percentage of underrepresented minorities (18.5%), and ophthalmology is at the bottom of the chart, showing the lowest percentage (6.3%) of underrepresented minorities.
Underrepresented Minority Residents in 18 US Residency Programs 2019-2020. Total numbers are in parentheses.

Researchers used the Data Resource Book printed by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. They obtained demographic knowledge on residents finding out in 18 completely different majors in accredited US residency programs between 2011-2012 and 2019-2020.

The workforce in contrast underrepresented minority teams in ophthalmology to these in different specialties and estimated the change within the proportion of underrepresented minority teams over time.

Ophthalmology ranks lowest for minority residents. Public well being and preventive medication and obstetrics and gynecology had the best proportion of underrepresented minority teams.

The researchers notice that advanced components contribute to the variations between ophthalmic residents. Previous analysis has proven that curiosity in ophthalmology was low amongst all medical college students and even decrease amongst underrepresented minority college students.

Emami-Naeini notes that almost all medical college students are usually not launched to ophthalmology till third or fourth grade, when they could have already selected one other specialty. Other components which will play a task are particular person experiences, implicit biases amongst decision-makers within the subject, and a scarcity of racially numerous function fashions.

Abhijith Atkuru, a third-year medical scholar at Eastern Virginia Medical School, is the study’s first writer. He labored with Emami-Naeini as a recipient of the J. William Kohl, MD Medical Student Scholarship, which gives medical college students a scholarship to study with ophthalmologists at UC Davis School of Medicine.

“During the research on this project, I was able to understand and recognize the differences in the field of ophthalmology and the urgent need for action to address them,” stated Atkuru. “I am interested in ophthalmology. Participating in the Kohl summer program and working on various projects have further strengthened my interest in the subject.”

Parisa Emami-NaeiniParisa Emami-Naeini

Seeing a physician who seems to be such as you or speaks your language can enhance well being outcomes and scale back affected person misery. We hope to entice extra numerous college students to the sector of ophthalmology.”Parisa Emami-Naeini

Small however regular enhance in selection

Data from the study exhibits a really small however regular 0.24% annual enhance in minority ophthalmology recruitment between 2011-2012 and 2019-2020.

The researchers notice that as a result of racial and ethnic variations in ophthalmology and medication stem from many components, an equally multifaceted grassroots strategy is required to tackle these points.

They advocate a concerted effort and collaboration between medical faculties and main coverage makers {and professional} societies to recruit extra numerous trainees.

Emami-Naeini participates within the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring Pipeline program, which helps medical college students from underrepresented minorities grow to be aggressive ophthalmology residency candidates.

“We know that representation is important. Seeing a doctor who looks like you or speaks your language can improve health outcomes and reduce patient distress. We hope that we can attract more diverse students to the field of ophthalmology,” stated Emami-Naeini.

Monica Ok. Lieng, UC Davis School of Medicine, is one other writer of the study.


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