Gender and Racial Representation Trends Among Internal Medicine Department Chairs from 2010–2020

Anita Samuel*, Ronald M. Cervero, Steven J. Durning

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Quality medical education, reduction in health disparities, and healthcare research that includes all members of society are enhanced by diversity in departments of internal medicine (IM). Research on increasing diversity within the academic medicine student body or faculty notes the important role of leadership. Yet, there is a scarcity in research into diversity in leadership. Objective: The purpose of this study is to go beyond aggregate numbers and answer the question: What is the level of parity representation, by gender and race, at department chair positions in academic IM departments? Design: A cross-sectional analysis of race/ethnicity and gender in IM medical school departments from 2010 to 2020 was conducted using data from the American Association of Medical College’s (AAMC) Faculty Roster. The proportion of IM department chairs to IM faculty by race/ethnicity for each year (2010–2020) was used to calculate the Leadership Parity Index (LPI) in this study. LPI by gender and by gender and race/ethnicity were also calculated for each year. Results: In aggregate numbers, Black or African American and Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish Origin faculty remain under-represented in academic IM each making up, on average, approximately 4% of the total IM faculty. The LPI calculations revealed that faculty who identified as White were consistently over-represented as department chairs while Asian faculty were consistently under-represented in leadership and ranked lowest in leadership parity among the ethnic groups studied. The leadership parity index also showed that women faculty across all races were under-represented. Conclusion: Women and Asian faculty encounter a ceiling effect that may be at play in IM departments. While significant progress still needs to be made in the representation of under-represented minorities, the findings of this study show that aggregate data does not provide a true picture of equity and parity in Internal Medicine faculties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)898-904
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • academic medicine
  • disparity
  • equity
  • leadership


Dive into the research topics of 'Gender and Racial Representation Trends Among Internal Medicine Department Chairs from 2010–2020'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this