I Can't Breathe: The Continued Disproportionate Underrepresentation and Effective Exclusion of Black Physicians in the United States Radiation Oncology Workforce. International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics Deville, C. n., Cruickshank, I. n., Chapman, C. H., Hwang, W. T., Wyse, R. n., Ahmed, A. A., Winkfield, K. n., Thomas, C. R., Gibbs, I. C. 2020


Black physicians remain disproportionately underrepresented in certain medical specialties, yet comprehensive assessments in Radiation Oncology (RO) are lacking. Our purpose was to report current and historical representation trends for Black physicians in the US RO workforce.Public registries were used to assess significant differences in 2016 representation for US vs RO Black academic full-time faculty, residents, and applicants. Historical changes from 1970-2016 were reported descriptively. Linear regression was used to assess significant changes for Black residents and faculty from 1995-2016.In 2016, Blacks represented 3.2% vs 1.5% (P<0.001), 5.6% vs 3.2% (P=0.005), and 6.5% vs 5.4% (P=0.352), of US vs RO faculty, residents, and applicants, respectively. While RO residents nearly doubled from 374 (1974) to 720 (2016), Black residents peaked at 31 in 1984 (5.9%; 31/522) and fell to 23 (3.2%; 23/720) in 2016 across 91 accredited programs; Black US GME trainees nearly doubled over the same time period: 3,506 (1984) to 6,905 (2016). Between 1995-2016, Black US resident representation significantly increased 0.03%/yr, but decreased significantly in RO -0.20%/yr before 2006 and did not change significantly thereafter. Over the same time period, Black US faculty representation significantly increased 0.02%/yr, while Black RO faculty significantly increased 0.07%/yr before 2006, then decreased significantly -0.16%/yr thereafter. The number of Black RO faculty peaked at 37 in 2006 (3.1%; 37/1203) and was 27 (1.5%; 27/1769) in 2016, despite the nearly 1.5-fold increase in the number of both RO faculty and Black US faculty overall (4,169 in 2006 and 6,047 in 2016) during that time period.Black physicians remain disproportionately underrepresented in RO despite an increasing available pipeline in the US physician workforce. Deliberate efforts to understand barriers to specialty training and inclusion, along with evidence-based targeted interventions to overcome them, are needed to ensure diversification of the RO physician workforce.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.07.015

View details for PubMedID 32668279