Purpose: To evaluate the demographic composition of academic glaucoma specialists currently practicing in the United States.
Design: Retrospective and observational study.
Subjects: Academic glaucoma specialists identified from ophthalmology residency programs listed on the Doximity database.
Methods: The American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO) membership directory, Doximity database, publicly available data, and direct communications were used to identify academic glaucoma specialists and their demographics. Information collected included—name, gender, race/ethnicity, geographic location, board certification date, academic affiliation, and academic rank. Ophthalmic age was defined as the number of years since ophthalmology board certification. Underrepresented minority (URM) groups were defined as Hispanics, Black or African Americans, Latinos, American Indians, or Alaskan Natives as defined by San Francisco match. In addition, the temporal, geographic, and academic rank distributions among females and URMs were explored.
Main outcome measures: Women and URMs representations among academic glaucoma specialists across academic ranks, geographic regions, as well as ophthalmic age.
Results: There were 457 active academic glaucoma specialists identified from 110 institutions in 38 states. Among them, 185 (40.5%) were women and 42 (9.2%) were URM. The proportion of women glaucoma specialists in academia had increased significantly with a rate of 1.049 in odds ratio (OR) per year (p < 0.001). However, there were no significant changes in the proportion of URMs over time. The earliest year of certification was 1,964 for males and 1,974 for females. When controlled for ophthalmic age, there were no significant differences in the distribution of women or URMs between the different academic ranks (p = 0.572 and p = 0.762, respectively). Among assistant professors, women had a significantly higher ophthalmic age compared to men (p < 0.001), but there was no significant difference in ophthalmic age in both the associate and full professor groups. There were no significant differences in the geographic distribution of gender (p = 0.516) and URM across United States regions (p = 0.238).
Conclusion: The proportion of women among academic glaucoma specialists has significantly increased over the past 5 decades; however, the proportion of URMs has been stagnant in the same period. Enhancing URM representation among academic glaucoma specialists deserves to be a future priority.
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