Only few women and minorities join certain medical specialities in the United States, says a new study.
Using reported data, scientists have determined that of the 16,835 medical school graduates in 2012, 48 percent were women and 15 percent were minority groups (including 7 percent Hispanic and 7 percent black).
Out of the 115,111 trainees in "postgraduate" medical education - for example, in internships and residencies of the year 2012 -- 46 percent were women and 14 percent were minorities (8 percent Hispanic and 6 percent black). Of the 688,468 practicing physicians in 2012, 30 percent were women and 9 percent were members of underrepresented minorities, including 5 percent who were Hispanic and 4 percent who were black, report sources.
"Diversifying the physician workforce may be key to addressing health disparities and inequities," said Dr. Curtiland Deville of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
"Minority physicians continue to provide the majority of care for undereserved and non-English speaking populations. Yet in no specialties were the percentages of black or Hispanic trainees comparable with the representation of these groups in the U.S. Population. Medical schools have been trying to increase the diversity of their students, with perhaps the assumption that this increased diversity will translate downstream to all specialties," said Deville.
But, he added, his team's new study shows that in some specialties, such as radiology, orthopedics, and otolaryngology, there's still "disproportionate under-representation of women and minorities."
Among black trainees, the top picks were family medicine and obstetrics and gynecology while otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) was least favorite. Among Hispanic trainees, top picks were psychiatry, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics, while ophthalmology was least favorite.