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Gender Imbalance at Academic Plastic Surgery Meetings

Santosa, Katherine B. M.D.; Larson, Ellen L. B.A.; Vannucci, Bianca B.A.; Lapidus, Jodi B. B.A.; Gast, Katherine M. M.D., M.P.H.; Sears, Erika D. M.D., M.S.; Waljee, Jennifer F. M.D., M.P.H., M.S.; Suiter, Amy M. M.S., M.L.S.; Sarli, Cathy C. M.L.S.; Mackinnon, Susan E. M.D.; Snyder-Warwick, Alison K. M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: June 2019 - Volume 143 - Issue 6 - p 1798-1806
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000005672
Plastic Surgery Focus: Women in Plastic Surgery

Background: Participation in scientific meetings yields multiple benefits, yet participation opportunities may not be equally afforded to men and women. The authors’ primary goal was to evaluate the representation of men and women at five major academic plastic surgery meetings in 2017. Secondarily, the authors used bibliometric data to compare academic productivity between male and female physician invited speakers or moderators.

Methods: The authors compiled information regarding 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 to 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 constituted 14.5 percent. 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 percent 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 midcareer faculty, women constitute a minority of invited speakers at academic plastic surgery meetings. Sponsorship is imperative for achieving gender balance within plastic surgery and to ultimately create more diverse and effective teams to improve patient care.

St. Louis, Mo.; Madison, Wis.; and Ann Arbor, Mich.

From the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, and the Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University School of Medicine; the Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin; the Section of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Michigan; and the VA Center for Clinical Management Research.

Received for publication May 19, 2018; accepted October 18, 2018.

Disclosure:The authors have no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this article.

Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Association of Plastic Surgeons, in Chicago, Illinois, April 14, 2018; and the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Plastic Surgery Research Council, in Birmingham, Alabama, May 17 through 20, 2018.

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Alison K. Snyder-Warwick, M.D., Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid Avenue, Campus Box 8238, Saint Louis, Mo. 63110,

Twitter: @DrAliSW

Copyright © 2019 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons