Mitigating gender disparity in residency surgical experience


"I think these results particularly apply to practicing urologists that have the opportunity to train residents," says Kathryn Marchetti, MD.

In this interview, Kathyrn Marchetti, MD, discusses next steps and the take-home message from the Urology paper “Gender-Based Disparity Exists in the Surgical Experience of Female and Male Urology Residents.” Marchetti is a Society of Urologic Oncology fellow at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


What are some next steps to address the disparities identified in this research?

That's a really great question. One of the main takeaways from this paper is that hopefully this is a call to action for programs to evaluate their own internal systems of how they schedule residents for cases that will potentially spark an audit in their own numbers to identify if this disparity exists within individual programs. It's really a call to action to the residency programs to take a look at their own data and see if these statistics apply to their cohort and then make a conscious effort to increase the equitable nature of how cases are distributed between male and female residents. As I mentioned, women are representing almost half of the trainees in our programs, and so making sure that we work out this disparity, as there are more women in the field, is particularly important now.

What is the take-home message for the practicing urologist?

I think these results particularly apply to practicing urologists that have the opportunity to train residents; again, just hopefully shedding some light on a disparity that may exist in the surgical case volumes that residents are exposed to, and helping them identify if potentially their own cases fall within this discrepancy. Considering that female residents logged themselves as being in the assistant role more often, is there a way that we can promote female resident autonomy in the operating room, allowing them to have an active role in more critical parts of the case?

Is there anything you would like to add?

This study was only 13 of the accredited urology programs across the country. There are obviously many more than just that 13. So considering the fact that we found a difference, my hope is that this gets people interested in this disparity and looking into it more with hopefully national-level datasets and maybe longer datasets to really identify where these disparities are happening, what types of programs - is it across the nation or just in certain areas - to help us really improve the situation and improve the training environment that many male and female residents are in.

This transcription was edited for clarity.

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