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AANS: Women Rising in Numbers of U.S. Neurosurgeons

Number of female neurosurgeons in academic leadership positions remains low

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TUESDAY, April 25, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The proportion of female neurosurgery residents is slowly increasing, according to a report presented during the 2017 American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) Annual Scientific Meeting, being held April 22-26 in Los Angeles.

Jaclyn Janine Renfrow, MD, of the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and colleagues reviewed databases from the AANS and the American Board of Neurosurgery (ABNS) from 1964 through 2013. They sought to determine the number and trajectory of female neurosurgery graduates.

The team identified 379 female neurosurgery residency graduates over the 50-year span. The majority (70 percent) became ABNS-certified. After residency completion, 27 percent of female graduates continued into fellowship training, most commonly pediatric neurosurgery. Upon completion of training, 26 percent entered academic medicine: 46 percent attained the rank of assistant professor, 36 percent attained the rank of associate professor, and 18 percent attained full-professor rank.

The authors conclude that the proportion of female neurosurgery residents is slowly increasing. "After training, the distribution of women in private vs. academic environments is roughly equal in proportion to male neurosurgeons," according to a news release. "The number of female neurosurgeons in academic leadership positions remains low, with only a single female neurosurgery department chair and an under-representation of [women] in higher academic ranks."

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