Gender disparities in gastrointestinal surgery fellowship programs

Daniel H. Wolbrom, L. Michael Brunt, Anne Lidor, D. Rohan Jeyarajah, Samer G. Mattar, Aurora Pryor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Gender disparities in surgical leadership have come under increased scrutiny, and in order to better understand why these disparities exist, it is important to study the disparities across surgical fellowship programs. Methods: Data derived from the Fellowship Council (FC) database for fellows completing training from academic years 2015–2019 were analyzed. Available information included institution, fellowship type, program director (PD), associate program director (APD), faculty, and fellow names for all FC Fellowships. Faculty and fellow gender were determined from personal knowledge or publicly available online biographical information. Results: A total of 1023 fellows and 221 programs were analyzed. The advanced gastrointestinal (GI)/minimally invasive surgery (MIS) fellowship programs included 321 fellows, with a small increase in the percentage of female fellows from 28 to 31% over 5 years. Advanced GI/MIS/bariatric fellowship programs had a total of 262 fellows, also with a small increase in the percent of female fellows, from 29 to 38% in the study period. The gender of program directors, assistant program directors, and faculty for the fellowship programs studied were analyzed as well. Of the 221 programs in the Fellowship Council data, 13.6% of program directors, 18.3% of associate program directors, and 19.9% of faculty were female. Advanced GI/MIS fellowship programs had the lowest percentage of female PDs, with only 9.3% of the program directors being female. Colorectal surgery fellowships had the highest percentage of female PDs, with 33% being female. Conclusions: In conclusion, women are underrepresented in gastrointestinal surgery fellowships among both trainees and educators. It is likely that a significant contributing factor to this underrepresentation of female fellows is the underrepresentation of female program directors and faculty; although neither our study nor any previously published study has proven that statistically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3805-3810
Number of pages6
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Gender disparities in surgery
  • Minimally invasive surgery training
  • Surgical leadership
  • Surgical training


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