Gender Representation in Fellowship Program Director Positions in ACGME-Accredited Chronic Pain and Acute Pain Fellowship Programs

Pain Med. 2021 Feb 5;pnab041. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnab041. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Objective: We quantified the representation of female program directors (PDs) and assessed their respective demographics, academic metrics, and program-related characteristics in chronic pain and acute pain medicine fellowship programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

Methods: We identified chronic and acute pain PDs on the ACGME website on November 15, 2020. We abstracted data from public databases and performed comparisons of demographics, academic metrics, and program-related characteristics between female and male PDs.

Results: We identified 111 chronic pain programs and 35 acute pain programs. Overall, there were 35 (31.5%) chronic pain programs with a female PD and 76 (68.5%) chronic pain programs with a male PD. Female chronic pain PDs published fewer peer-reviewed articles (4.0 publications, interquartile range [IQR] = 2.0-12.0) compared with male chronic pain PDs (9.0 publications, IQR = 4.0-27.0; P = 0.050), although there was no difference in the H-index score (3.0 vs 4.0 publications, respectively; P = 0.062) or senior academic rank status (57.1% vs 50.0%, respectively; P = 0.543). There were 10 (28.6%) acute pain programs with a female PD and 25 (71.4%) acute pain programs with a male PD. Similar to the chronic pain cohort, there was no difference in senior academic rank status based on gender in acute pain PDs (50.0% vs 24.0%, respectively; P = 0.227).

Conclusion: Our study highlights gender differences in the PD role in ACGME-accredited chronic and acute pain fellowships. Female PDs remain underrepresented and have fewer peer-reviewed publications. Senior academic rank status was similar across genders, contradicting the current evidence in academic medicine.