The critical question of racial and gender diversity in pediatric anesthesia training programs has not been previously explored. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate trends by race/ethnicity and gender in pediatric anesthesiology fellowship training programs in the United States for the years 2000 to 2018.
Demographic data on pediatric anesthesiology fellows and anesthesiology residents were obtained from the self-reported data collected for the Journal of the American Medical Association’s annual report on Graduate Medical Education for the years 2000 to 2018. Diversity was assessed by calculating the proportions of trainees per year by gender and racial/ethnic groups in pediatric anesthesiology fellowship and anesthesiology residency programs. Logistic regression equations were developed to estimate the annual growth rate of each racial/ethnic groups.
The number of pediatric anesthesiology fellows increased from 57 trainees in 2000–2001 to 202 in 2017–2018 at an average rate of 9 fellows per year (95% confidence interval [CI], 8–10). These increases were primarily due to white trainees (54.4%–63.4%) as the proportions of black (7.0%–4.5%), Asian (26.3%–21.3%), and other minority (12.3%–10.9%) trainees have remained low. The number of anesthesiology residents increased from 3950 trainees in 2000–2001 to 5940 in 2017–2018 at an average rate of 99 residents per year (95% CI, 88–111). Within all anesthesiology trainees, these increases were due to white trainees (55.7%–61.3%) as the proportion of black (5.0%–6.0%), Asian (25.8%–24.1%), and other minority trainees (8.2%–8.5%) has remained fairly constant over the time period. Despite the overall lower proportion of female anesthesiology residents (range: 27.0%–37.5%), a steady increase in the number of women in pediatric anesthesiology fellowship programs has reversed the gender imbalance in this population as of 2010.
While historic gains have been made in gender diversity in pediatric anesthesiology, there is persistent underrepresentation of black and Hispanic trainees in pediatric anesthesiology. It appears that their low numbers in anesthesiology residency programs (the reservoir) may be partly responsible. Efforts to increase ethnic/racial diversity in pediatric anesthesiology fellowship and anesthesiology residency training programs are urgently needed.