Women remain underrepresented in leadership positions in academic gastroenterology throughout the United States

Authors Daniel S. Jamorabo, Richy Chen, Hashroop Gurm, Muntasir Jahangir, William M. Briggs, Smruti R. Mohanty, Benjamin D. Renelus.


Background Publication history is a key factor in securing academic promotion, but historical underrepresentation of women in gastroenterology may be an ongoing obstacle to achieving gender parity in leadership positions.

Methods We carried out a cross-sectional study of gastroenterology programs in the United States, with data including faculty and trainee names, leadership positions, Hirsch indices, and year of first gastroenterology certification gathered from 1 February 2020 to 1 March 2020. Our outcomes of interest were: 1) sex representation in various leadership positions in academic gastroenterology departments; and 2) mean difference in Hirsch indices between men and women, for which we used univariate and multivariate regression models.

Results Our cohort included 3655 faculty members and trainees across 163 academic gastroenterology programs in the United States. Women comprised 28.7% (1049/3655) of the cohort, including 713/2657 (26.8%) of faculty and 56/289 (19.4%) of all fellowship program directors and divisional/departmental chairs and chiefs. Male faculty had higher mean Hirsch indices compared to women (11.4 vs. 5.5, P<0.001), and when adjusted for year of first gastroenterology certification, men had a larger Hirsch index by 2.8 (95% confidence interval 1.3-4.1, P<0.001). Women were also underrepresented in various subspecialties of gastroenterology, particularly advanced endoscopy.

Conclusions Women in academic gastroenterology remain underrepresented in leadership positions and have lower Hirsch indices than men. Our findings may stem not only from differences in mentorship and career goals, but also from underlying structural factors that disadvantage women.

Keywords Sex disparities, leadership in gastroenterology, underrepresentation

Ann Gastroenterol 2021; 34 (3): 316-322

Original Articles