Gender and Racial Disparity Among US Forensic Psychiatry Fellows: Broken System by Default

Psychiatr Q. 2022 Jun;93(2):651-662. doi: 10.1007/s11126-022-09972-9. Epub 2022 Mar 5.


Diversity enhances the performance of the healthcare system by providing better patient outcomes and reducing physician burnout. In this study, we explored the gender and racial trends in the recruitment of women and racial minorities into forensic psychiatry fellowship programs in the US. Retrospective data analysis was performed by utilizing the data from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)'s annual Data Resource Books from the year 2007 to 2021. Demographic data, including gender and race, were extracted for forensic psychiatry fellows. The number of female trainees increased significantly to become a majority, i.e., 58.8% of all forensic psychiatry trainees in 2020-2021 were female compared to 27.78% of women forensic psychiatry fellows in 2007-08. Between 2011-12 and 2020-2021, there was a relative increase in White (Non-Hispanic), Asian/Pacific Islander and Black (Non-Hispanic) forensic psychiatry fellows, by 54.75%, 114.4%, and 0.36% respectively. Despite the overall increase in the numbers of ethnic minorities in US psychiatry residency and fellowship programs, racial minorities remain significantly under-represented in forensic psychiatry fellowship programs. We need to revise policies to promote underrepresented minorities in medicine (URMM) in forensic psychiatry.

Keywords: Forensic psychiatry; Gender; Racial; US; Underrepresented minority; Women.

MeSH terms

  • Asian People
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Minority Groups
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States