Huge Racial Disparities Among Medical Residents in Specific Fields

The Association of American Medical Colleges has released new data on medical residents in the United States. Data are for graduates of MD-granting U.S. and Canadian schools and graduates of international medical schools. International medical school graduates include both U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens who graduated from any medical school outside the United States and Canada.

Overall, 50.0 percent of active U.S.-citizen medical residents in 2020-21 reported they were White, 21.8 percent self-identified as Asian, 7.8 percent were Hispanic, 5.8 identified as Black or African American, less than 1 percent were American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. Additionally, 17.2 percent of active medical residents were non-U.S. citizens in 2020-21.

There were differences in residencies by a specific field. Blacks were 20 percent of the residents in adolescent pediatrics and preventive medicine and 16 percent of the residents in orthopaedic surgery of the spine. African Americans made up 11 percent of the residents in clinical informatics and 10 percent of the residents in emergency medicine and geriatric medicine and more than 9 percent of the residents in sports medicine and obstetrics and gynecology.

In contrast, there were more than 7,000 Black or African American residents in all fields. But there were no African Americans residents in the fields of adult congenital heart disease, biochemical genetics, molecular genetic pathology, brain injury medicine, endovascular surgical neuroradiology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, musculoskeletal oncology, otology-neurotology, spinal cord injury medicine, craniofacial surgery, hand surgery, and abdominal radiology.

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