Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Academic Nuclear Medicine: National Survey of Nuclear Medicine Residency Program Directors

J Nucl Med. 2021 Apr 23;jnumed.120.260711. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.120.260711. Online ahead of print.


A diverse health care workforce is a necessary component of equitable care delivery to an increasingly diverse US population. In nuclear medicine (NM), there is a paucity of data on the numbers of women and members of racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in medicine in the United States (URiMs). This study sought to: 1) characterize the current state of women and URiMs in academic nuclear medicine, 2) describe the demographics of Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited NM residency program faculty and trainees, and 3) assess the extent of nuclear medicine exposure during medical school. Methods: This study was reviewed by the Institutional Review Board and deemed exempt. In this cross sectional study, a link to an online 15-item survey was emailed to 41 ACGME accredited NM residency program directors (PDs) in the United States. Data were collected between 9/2018- 12/2018 using REDCap.TM Results: 23/41 (56.1%) PDs responded to the survey, 18/23 (78.3%) male and 5/23 (21.7%) female. 3/23 (13.0%) PDs reported being URiMs. Of the 60 residents in the 23 NM residency programs whose PDs responded, 37/60 (61.7%) are male (7/37 (18.9%) URiMs) and 23/60 (38.3%) female (5/23 (21.7%) URiMs). 14/60 (23.3%) residents are US medical school graduates (US grads). PDs describe demographics of 121 current NM faculty members: 86/121 (71.1%) are male (8/121 (6.6% URIMs) and 35/121 (28.9%) female (7/121 (5.8% URiMs). 65/121 (53.7%) are US grads. 16/34 (69.6%) divisional chiefs are male, and 7/23 (30.4%) are female. 4/23 (17.4%) divisional chiefs are URiMs. 7/23 (30.4%) of NM PDs report that NM is part of the medical school curriculum. Conclusion: Women and URiMs are underrepresented in NM training programs. This diversity gap is more pronounced among NM faculty and to an even greater extent in leadership positions. A greater proportion of NM trainees are international medical graduates (IMGs) compared to NM faculty members, suggesting declining NM recruitment among US grads. NM is included in the medical school curriculum at fewer than one-third of academic centers with NM residency programs, typically toward the end of medical school. Increased and earlier exposure of NM, especially to women and URiMs, may improve recruitment and mitigate diversity gaps.

Keywords: Diversity; Nuclear Medicine; Other; Training; Underrepresented in Medicine; Women.