A disturbing trend: An analysis of the decline in surgical critical care fellowship training of Black and Hispanic surgeons

Amanda Hambrecht, Cherisse Berry, Charles Dimaggio, William Chiu, Kenji Inaba, Spiros Frangos, Leandra Krowsoski, Wendy Ricketts Greene, Nabil Issa, Carla Pugh, Marko Bukur*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND Underrepresented minorities in medicine (URiMs) are disproportionally represented in surgery training programs. Rates of URiMs applying to and completing General Surgery residency remain low. We hypothesized that the patterns of URiMs disparities would persist into surgical critical care (SCC) fellowship applicants, matriculants, and graduates. METHODS We performed a retrospective analysis of SCC applicants, matriculants, and graduates from 2005 to 2020 using the graduate medical education resident survey and analyzed applicant characteristics using the Surgical Critical Care and Acute Care Surgery Fellowship Application Service from 2018 to 2020. The data were stratified by race/ethnicity and sex. Indicator variables were created for Asian, Hispanic, White, and Black trainees. Yearly proportions for each race/ethnicity and sex categories completing or enrolling in a program were calculated and plotted over time with Loess smoothing lines and overlying 95% confidence bands. The yearly rate and statistical significance of change over time were tested with linear regression models with race/ethnicity and sex proportion as the dependent variables and year as the explanatory variable. RESULTS From 2005 to 2020, there were a total of 2,481 graduates. Black men accounted for 4.7% of male graduates with a significant decline of 0.3% per year for the study period of those completing the fellowship (p = 0.02). Black women comprised 6.4% of female graduates and had a 0.6% decline each year (p < 0.01). A similar trend was seen with Hispanic men, who comprised 3.2% of male graduates and had a 0.3% annual decline (p = 0.02). White men had a significant increase in both matriculation to and graduation from SCC fellowships during the same interval. Similarly, Black and Hispanic applicants declined from 2019 to 2020, while the percentage of White applicants increased. CONCLUSION Disparities in URiMs representation remain omnipresent in surgery and extend from residency training to SCC fellowship. Efforts to enhance the recruitment and retention of URiMs in SCC training are warranted. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE Prognostic and Epidemiologic; level IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-90
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • Underrepresented minorities in medicine
  • health care disparities
  • surgical critical care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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