Full-Time Faculty in Clinical and Basic Science Departments by Sex and Underrepresented in Medicine Status: A 40-Year Review

Imam M. Xierali, Marc A. Nivet, William F. Rayburn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose To assess the changing diversity of faculty in specific clinical and basic science departments, stratified by sex and underrepresented in medicine (URM) status, at all Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)-accredited medical schools. Method In this retrospective, cross-sectional, observational study, the authors used data from the Association of American Medical Colleges Faculty Roster (data pulled in October 2019) to identify trends in clinical department faculty and in basic science department faculty by sex and URM status. They included full-time faculty at all LCME-accredited medical schools from 1979 to 2018. They compared the proportions of faculty across separate departments according to sex and URM status, and they used 2-independent-sample t test and simple linear regressions for statistical comparisons. Results The number of full-time faculty increased from 49,909 in 1979 to 175,326 in 2018. The largest increase occurred in clinical departments, where the number of faculty increased from 38,726 to 155,677 (a fourfold increase). The number of faculty in basic science departments increased from 11,183 to 19,649 (a 1.8-fold increase). The proportions of faculty who were non-URM females (compared with non-URM males, URM females, and URM males) increased the most - from 14.4% (5,595 of 38,726) to 37.6% (58,478 of 155,677) for clinical departments, and from 14.9% (1,669 of 11,183) to 33.0% (6,485 of 19,649) for basic science departments. Growth was steady but slow among URM faculty, especially for Black males; the absolute number of male URM faculty remained low in both basic science and clinical departments. The proportions of females and URM faculty were highest in the departments of obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, and family medicine. Conclusions The substantial increase in faculty, especially in clinical departments, has led to greater diversity, but mostly among non-URM females. The rise of URM male and URM female faculty has been minimal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-575
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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