Background: Although the presence of women and minorities is increasing in academic surgery, inclusion at the highest levels appears to continue to lag in many aspects of leadership and participation. Participation in medical societies is an opportunity in career development but may also propagate disparities. We investigated the presence of women and minorities within one subspecialty society, the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, to better understand the presence of these groups in the leadership of this society.
Methods: Publicly available data regarding American Association of Endocrine Surgeons membership and leadership were obtained. North American active members in 2007, 2012, and 2017 were identified. Gender and race/ethnicity were determined via internet query. We analyzed the number and proportion of active members and members in leadership positions who were female, East/South/Middle Eastern Asian American ("Asian"), Hispanic/Latin/South American, or African American in each year throughout this period.
Results: The American Association of Endocrine Surgeons was established in 1981. From 2007 to 2017, active membership in the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons increased from 178 to 276. The percentages of female (17.4%-35.1%), Asian (9.0%-17.4%), and Hispanic/Latin/South American (3.9%- 4.7%) members increased during this time. The percentage of African American members did not increase (1.7%-1.8%). In 2017, women and Asians composed disproportionately high percentages of council members (50% and 67%, respectively) and committee chairs (46%, 23%) and were inconsistently represented as officers (40%, 20%). Hispanic/Latin/South American and African American members were disproportionately underrepresented at every level of leadership.
Conclusion: Diversity in the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons has improved for all groups of diversity that were explored except African American members. Women and Asians are not consistently well represented throughout the organizational leadership, and Hispanic/Latin/South American and African American members are underrepresented. Opportunity exists to improve the diversity opportunities in this organization.
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