Attrition is high among surgical trainees, and six of ten trainees consider leaving their programs, with two ultimately leaving before completion of training. Given known historically and systemically rooted biases, Black surgical trainees are at high risk of attrition during residency training. With only 4.5% of all surgical trainees identifying as Black, underrepresentation among their peers can lend to misclassification of failure to assimilate as clinical incompetence. Furthermore, the disproportionate impact of ongoing socioeconomic crisis (e.g., COVID-19 pandemic, police brutality etc.) on Black trainees and their families confers additional challenges that may exacerbate attrition rates. Thus, attrition is a significant threat to medical workforce diversity and health equity. There is urgent need for surgical programs to develop proactive approaches to address attrition and the threat to the surgical workforce. In this Society of Black Academic Surgeons (SBAS) white paper, we provide a framework that promotes an open and inclusive environment conducive to the retention of Black surgical trainees, and continued progress towards attainment of health equity for racial and ethnic minorities in the United States.
- Black surgical trainee