Gender Imbalance at Academic Plastic Surgery Meetings
Katherine Santosa, MD, MS1; Ellen Larson, B.S.2; Bianca Vannucci, BA3; Jodi B Lapidus, MPHS4; Katherine M Gast, MD, MS5; Erika D Sears, MD, MS6; Jennifer F. Waljee, MD, MPH, MS7; Amy M Suiter, MS, MLS3; Cathy C Sarli, MLS3; Susan E. Mackinnon, MD8; Alison K. Snyder-Warwick, MD4
1Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2Washington University in St. Louis, St Louis, MO, 3Washington University, Saint Louis, MO, 4Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, 5University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, 6Section of Plastic Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 7Section of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 8Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, MO
Introduction: Participation in scientific meetings yields multiple benefits, yet participation opportunities may not be equally afforded to men and women. Our primary goal was to evaluate the representation of men and women at five major academic plastic surgery meetings in 2017: Annual Combined American Association for Hand Surgery (AAHS)/(ASPN)/American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM) Meetings, the 96th Annual Meeting for the American Association of Plastic Surgeons (AAPS), and the Plastic Surgery Research Council (PSRC) 62nd Annual Meeting. Secondarily, we used bibliometric data to compare academic productivity between male and female physician invited speakers or moderators.
Materials and Methods: We compiled male and female invited speakers from meeting programs. Bibliometric data (h-index, m-value) and metrics of academic productivity (numbers of career publications, publications in 2015-2016, career peer-reviewed publications, first and senior author publications) for invited speakers were extracted from Scopus and analyzed.
Results: There were 282 academic physician invited speakers at the five 2017 meetings. Women comprised 14.5% of speakers across all meetings. The combined AAHS/ASPN/ASRM meeting was composed of the highest proportion of women speakers at 19.4%. Univariate analysis showed no differences in h-index, m-value, or numbers of total career publications or first and last author publications at the Assistant and Associate Professor ranks, but higher values for men at the Professor level. A model of academic rank based on bibliometric and demographic variables showed male gender significantly associated with increased probability of holding a Professor title, even when controlling for academic achievement markers (OR=2.17, 95% CI: 1.61 to 2.92).
Conclusions: Although the impact of women's published work was no different than that of men among junior and mid-career faculty, women comprise the minority of invited speakers at academic plastic surgery meetings. Sponsorship is imperative to achieve gender balance within our specialty and to ultimately create more diverse and effective teams to improve patient care.
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