An Analysis of Gender Bias in Plastic Surgery Resident Assessment

J Grad Med Educ. 2021 Aug;13(4):500-506. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-20-01394.1. Epub 2021 Aug 13.


Background: Previous studies have shown men and women attending physicians rate or provide operating room (OR) autonomy differently to men and women residents, with men attendings providing higher ratings and more OR autonomy to men residents. Particularly with the advent of competency-based training in plastic surgery, differential advancement of trainees influenced by gender bias could have detrimental effects on resident advancement and time to graduation.

Objective: We determined if plastic surgery residents are assessed differently according to gender.

Methods: Three institutions' Operative Entrustability Assessment (OEA) data were abstracted from inception through November 2018 from MileMarker, a web-based program that stores trainee operative skill assessments of CPT-coded procedures. Ratings are based on a 5-point scale. Linear regression with postgraduate year adjustment was applied to all completed OEAs to compare men and women attendings' assessments of men and women residents.

Results: We included 8377 OEAs completed on 64 unique residents (25% women) by 51 unique attendings (29% women): men attendings completed 83% (n = 6972; 5859 assessments of men residents; 1113 of women residents) and women attendings completed 17% (n = 1405; 1025 assessments of men residents; 380 of women residents). Adjusted analysis showed men attendings rated women residents lower than men residents (P < .001); scores by women attendings demonstrated no significant difference (P = .067).

Conclusions: Our dataset including 4.5 years of data from 3 training programs showed men attendings scored women plastic surgery residents lower than their men counterparts.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Operating Rooms
  • Sexism
  • Surgery, Plastic*