Uncovering Disparities in Scholarly Productivity among Junior Surgical Society Grant Recipients

Julia Riccardi, Nicole I. Farber, Vanessa Ho, Stephanie L. Bonne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Despite increasing the number of women and ethnic minority groups in surgery, the academic advancement of such individuals within surgical fields lags behind Caucasian men. We sought to identify gender and ethnic inequalities in the receipt of surgical society research grants for young faculty investigators and compare the scholarly productivity of these groups. Materials and methods: In this cross-sectional and retrospective study, the gender and race of surgical society grant recipients were determined from surgical society Web sites. Surgical society grants aimed at providing research grants for junior faculty investigators were analyzed. Using the Scopus database, each recipient's scholarly productivity was determined by means of h-index, a standardized measure of the quantity and impact of an individual's published articles. We generated descriptive statistics to compare the gender, race, and h-index of grant recipients in the years 2006-2008 and 2016-2018. Results: Between 2006 and 2008, there were 68 research grant recipients. Of these recipients, 79% were men and 21% were women. The racial breakdown was 54% Caucasian men, 22% Asian men, 1.4% African American men, 1.4% Hispanic men, 12% Caucasian women, 7% Asian Women, and 1.4% African American women. The average h-index of the male and female recipients is 25 (±14) and 24 (±14), respectively (P = 0.81). Between 2016 and 2018, there were 113 research grant recipients. Of these recipients, 66% were men and 34% were women. The racial breakdown was 47% Caucasian men, 16% Asian men, 3.5% African American men, 1% Hispanic men, 26% Caucasian women, 3.5% Asian women, and 3.5% African American women. The average h-index of the male and female recipients is 12 (±8) and 9 (±6), respectively (P = 0.046). Caucasian women had the only statistically significant change in the proportion of grant recipients from 2006-2008 to 2016-2018, with an increase from 12% to 26% (P = 0.02). Conclusions: Most surgical society research grants for young investigators continue to be awarded to Caucasian men, with Caucasian women earning a distant second in the 2016-2018 cohort. Ethnic minorities continue to be awarded less research grants than Caucasian recipients. Overall, the average h-index of women was less than men. This study highlights the persistent need for surgical societies to consider gender and ethnic disparities when awarding junior investigator grants, including barriers minority groups may face in achieving the same h-index as Caucasian men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-134
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Volume257
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery

Keywords

  • Academic surgery
  • Diversity
  • Gender equity
  • Inclusion
  • Surgical society

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