Women Make Progress in Pediatric Dermatology Leadership

Heidi Splete

October 21, 2020

Women account for approximately 78% of the pediatric dermatology workforce, and continue to gain influence through increased numbers of leadership positions and published research, based on data from a review of professional society leaders, grant recipients, and annual meeting presenters from 2010 to 2019.

"Despite extensive research on gender equality in general dermatology, studies have yet to explore the evolving representation of women as leaders and researchers in pediatric dermatology, a field where the majority of board-certified physicians are women," wrote Catherine Baker, MD, and colleagues. Dr. Baker was a medical student at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, N.H., at the time of the study and is now a resident physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston.

In a study published in Pediatric Dermatology, the researchers reviewed data on society leadership, research grants, and annual meeting speakers in order to evaluate the impact of women in pediatric dermatology.

Overall, the Society for Pediatric Dermatology has had 20 women presidents since its founding in 1975 (45%), and 7 of the last 10 since 2011 have been women (70%). The Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance, founded in 2013, has two cochairs each year, and 75% have been women.

Marked improvements seen for women in dermatology since the 1970s

The percentage of women as lead authors of published research in pediatric dermatology increased significantly from 1983 to 2019; 71% of first authors and 65% of senior authors of papers in the journal Pediatric Dermatology in 2019 were women.

In addition, 26 of the 31 physicians (84%) who received SPD/PeDRA pilot project awards between 2008 and 2018 were women, as were 88% of SPD/PeDRA team/collaborative grant winners from 2016 to 2018.

However, named lectures at annual meetings remain an area in which women are underrepresented, the researchers wrote. Although women have been well represented at PeDRA meetings, accounting for 65% of plenary speakers, but they accounted for less than half (44%) of Hurwitz and Founders' lectures at SPD annual meetings from 2010 to 2019.

The study findings were limited by a lack of data on nonbinary genders and the possibility of error in assessing gender based on name and online profiles, the researchers noted. However, the results suggest that women have increased their influence in pediatric dermatology through leadership and research, although a gender gap persists in roles as senior authors and named lecturers at meetings, they wrote.

Overall, "we expect increasing gender equity in these positions as women continue to play important roles as leaders and researchers in pediatric dermatology," the researchers concluded.

The study received no outside funding. The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose.

SOURCE: Baker C et al. Pediatr Dermatol. 2020 Jul 9. doi: 10.1111/pde.14266.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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