(HealthDay News) — Representation of women in academic medicine improved from 1990 to 2019, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

Researchers also observed a modest increase in representation of underrepresented minorities, but trends varied by institution and racial/ethnic group.

The researchers quantified representation of women and underrepresented minorities on US medical school faculty and assessed changes and variability in representation by individual schools. Underrepresented minorities included American Indian or Alaska Native, Black, Hispanic, and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander individuals.

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The analysis included data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Faculty Administrative Management Online User System. The data encompassed 121 schools and 72,076 faculty in 1990 and 144 schools and 184,577 faculty in 2019.

The median representation quotient (RQ) of women faculty increased from 0.42 to 0.80 (slope, +1.4% per year) during the study period. The absolute total change in RQ of underrepresented minorities also increased, although the 30-year slope did not differ from 0 (+0.1% per year).

There was a decrease seen in the median RQ of Hispanic faculty from 0.44 to 0.34 (slope, −1.7% per year). The median RQ of Black faculty increased from 0.10 to 0.22 (slope, +0.5% per year) but remained low.

At the majority of institutions (88.2%), the RQ of women faculty increased, but there was variability in underrepresented minority faculty trends. The RQ increased at 39.6% of institutions but decreased at 6.9% of institutions.

“We also found that county-level population comparisons function differently than national comparisons in assessing medical faculty representation for women and URM [underrepresented minorities],” the researchers wrote. “County-level benchmarks may be helpful in assessing representation in the context of regional demographics.”

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