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Aruna Ganju, Uma V. Mahajan, Hanna Kemeny, H. Gregory Frankel, and Deborah L. Benzil

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to analyze the visibility of women within organized neurosurgery, including leadership positions, lectureships, and honored guest/award recipients at neurosurgical conferences.

METHODS

A cross-sectional study was used to analyze the gender demographics within the five major national neurosurgical societies (Congress of Neurological Surgeons [CNS], American Association of Neurological Surgeons [AANS], Society of Neurological Surgeons [SNS], American Board of Neurological Surgery [ABNS], and Council of State Neurosurgical Societies [CSNS]) from 2000 to 2020. Data for top leadership positions, keynote speakers, honored guests, and invited lectureships at these neurosurgical societies were reviewed. Additionally, national neurosurgical residency match data from 2018 to 2020 were collected. For each aforementioned data point, gender was determined and confirmed via publicly available data. Data from the US News and World Report best hospitals publication for 2020 were applied for analyzing gender trends within neurosurgical residencies specifically.

RESULTS

In the past 2 decades (2000–2020), top leadership positions across the neurosurgical organizations were held by 45 individuals, of whom 5 (11.1%) were women. Spanning from 2000 to 2018, just 8.1% (50 of 618) of guests/honored speakers on the national neurosurgical stage of the CNS, AANS, SNS, and CSNS meetings have been female. Excluding the Louise Eisenhardt Lecture (honoring women), the percentage of female guests/honored speakers at the AANS meeting was just 5% (17 of 367). For the CNS annual meetings, 13.4% (20 of 149) of the speakers were women from 2000 to 2018, whereas the CSNS annual meeting data from 2001 to 2018 found that 11.9% (7 of 59) of speakers were women. From 1952 to the present, there have been no female honored guests at the CNS annual meeting. Across the residency match cycles from 2018 to 2020, the percentages of matched applicants identifying as female have been 22.7%, 28.1%, and, most recently, 25.3%. The percentage of female residents is 28.5% (top 20 program) versus 24.3% (non–top 20 program) (p = 0.267).

CONCLUSIONS

This study found that for all the data points surveyed, including leadership positions, invited lectureships at national neurosurgical meetings, and successful neurosurgical residency applicants, disproportionate female underrepresentation was evident. Consistent lack of visibility leads to a negative impact on progress in the recruitment and retention of women in neurosurgery. Visibility, mentorship, role models, and sponsorship are highly interrelated processes and are essential for meaningful progress.

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Uma V. Mahajan, Harsh Wadhwa, Parastou Fatemi, Samantha Xu, Judy Shan, Deborah L. Benzil, and Corinna C. Zygourakis

OBJECTIVE

Publications are key for advancement within academia. Although women are underrepresented in academic neurosurgery, the rates of women entering residency, achieving board certification, and publishing papers are increasing. The goal of this study was to assess the current status of women in academic neurosurgery publications. Specifically, this study sought to 1) survey female authorship rates in the Journal of Neurosurgery (JNS [not including JNS: Spine or JNS: Pediatrics]) and Neurosurgery from 2010 to 2019; 2) analyze whether double-blind peer review (started in Neurosurgery in 2011) altered female authorship rates relative to single-blind review (JNS); and 3) evaluate how female authorship rates compared with the number of women entering neurosurgery residency and obtaining neurosurgery board certification.

METHODS

Genders of the first and last authors for JNS and Neurosurgery articles from 2010 to 2019 were obtained. Data were also gathered on the number and percentage of women entering neurosurgery residency and women obtaining American Board of Neurological Surgeons (ABNS) certification between 2010 and 2019.

RESULTS

Women accounted for 13.4% (n = 570) of first authors and 6.8% (n = 240) of last authors in JNS and Neurosurgery publications. No difference in rates of women publishing existed between the two journals (first authors: 13.0% JNS vs 13.9% Neurosurgery, p = 0.29; last authors: 7.3% JNS vs 6.0% Neurosurgery, p = 0.25). No difference existed between women first or last authors in Neurosurgery before and after initiation of double-blind review (p = 0.066). Significant concordance existed between the gender of first and last authors: in publications with a woman last author, the odds of the first author being a woman was increased by twofold (OR 2.14 [95% CI 1.43–3.13], p = 0.0001). Women represented a lower proportion of authors of invited papers (8.6% of first authors and 3.1% of last authors were women) compared with noninvited papers (14.1% of first authors and 7.4% of last authors were women) (first authors: OR 0.576 [95% CI 0.410–0.794], p = 0.0004; last authors: OR 0.407 [95% CI 0.198–0.751], p = 0.001). The proportion of women US last authors (7.4%) mirrors the percentage of board-certified women neurosurgeons (5.4% in 2010 and 6.8% in 2019), while the percentage of women US first authors (14.3%) is less than that for women entering neurosurgical residency (11.2% in 2009 and 23.6% in 2018).

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first report of female authorship in the neurosurgical literature. The authors found that single- versus double-blind peer review did not impact female authorship rates at two top neurosurgical journals.

Free access

Uma V. Mahajan, Harsh Wadhwa, Parastou Fatemi, Samantha Xu, Judy Shan, Deborah L. Benzil, and Corinna C. Zygourakis

OBJECTIVE

Publications are key for advancement within academia. Although women are underrepresented in academic neurosurgery, the rates of women entering residency, achieving board certification, and publishing papers are increasing. The goal of this study was to assess the current status of women in academic neurosurgery publications. Specifically, this study sought to 1) survey female authorship rates in the Journal of Neurosurgery (JNS [not including JNS: Spine or JNS: Pediatrics]) and Neurosurgery from 2010 to 2019; 2) analyze whether double-blind peer review (started in Neurosurgery in 2011) altered female authorship rates relative to single-blind review (JNS); and 3) evaluate how female authorship rates compared with the number of women entering neurosurgery residency and obtaining neurosurgery board certification.

METHODS

Genders of the first and last authors for JNS and Neurosurgery articles from 2010 to 2019 were obtained. Data were also gathered on the number and percentage of women entering neurosurgery residency and women obtaining American Board of Neurological Surgeons (ABNS) certification between 2010 and 2019.

RESULTS

Women accounted for 13.4% (n = 570) of first authors and 6.8% (n = 240) of last authors in JNS and Neurosurgery publications. No difference in rates of women publishing existed between the two journals (first authors: 13.0% JNS vs 13.9% Neurosurgery, p = 0.29; last authors: 7.3% JNS vs 6.0% Neurosurgery, p = 0.25). No difference existed between women first or last authors in Neurosurgery before and after initiation of double-blind review (p = 0.066). Significant concordance existed between the gender of first and last authors: in publications with a woman last author, the odds of the first author being a woman was increased by twofold (OR 2.14 [95% CI 1.43–3.13], p = 0.0001). Women represented a lower proportion of authors of invited papers (8.6% of first authors and 3.1% of last authors were women) compared with noninvited papers (14.1% of first authors and 7.4% of last authors were women) (first authors: OR 0.576 [95% CI 0.410–0.794], p = 0.0004; last authors: OR 0.407 [95% CI 0.198–0.751], p = 0.001). The proportion of women US last authors (7.4%) mirrors the percentage of board-certified women neurosurgeons (5.4% in 2010 and 6.8% in 2019), while the percentage of women US first authors (14.3%) is less than that for women entering neurosurgical residency (11.2% in 2009 and 23.6% in 2018).

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first report of female authorship in the neurosurgical literature. The authors found that single- versus double-blind peer review did not impact female authorship rates at two top neurosurgical journals.

Restricted access

Jonathan H. Borden, Uma V. Mahajan, Lud Eyasu, William Holden, Brian Shaw, Peter Callas, and Deborah L. Benzil

OBJECTIVE

There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the benefits of diversity across many domains. However, neurosurgery consistently lags most of medicine in many aspects of diversity. Any inability to make progress in this arena is likely due to the multifactorial and complex nature of the issue, which makes it difficult to meaningfully measure and track diversity within the workforce. The goal of this pilot study was to assess the utilization of a multidimensional statistical model to quantify and assess diversity within neurosurgery. The authors sought to 1) assess the diversity of neurosurgery residents using Simpson’s Diversity Index and Sullivan’s Composite Diversity Index (CDI) and 2) determine if a medical school’s intrinsic academic opportunities and resources, indicated by US News & World Report’s (USNWR’s) best research medical schools ranking, are related to the number of neurosurgery residents produced per medical school.

METHODS

A cross-sectional study of all neurosurgery residents (projected graduation years 2020–2026) and 1st-year medical students (matriculating years 2016–2019) was undertaken. Biographical diversity data (gender and matriculation data) were collected from institutional websites between December 2019 and June 2020. The CDI expresses the diversity of a given population by representing the effective proportion of categories present across all diversity attributes and was calculated for neurosurgery residents and medical students. Statistical results are reported as the median and interquartile range.

RESULTS

Neurosurgery residency program CDI (0.21, IQR 0.16–0.25) was significantly less (p < 0.001) than medical school CDI (0.42, 0.37–0.48). There was no significant difference in CDI between top-40 and non–top 40 Doximity ranked research output neurosurgery residency programs (p = 0.35) or between top-40 and non–top 40 USNWR ranked research medical schools (p = 0.11). Over a 7-year period, top-40 ranked research medical schools produced significantly more (p < 0.001) neurosurgery residents (11.9, IQR 7.1–18.9) than the non–top 40 ranked research medical schools (5.6, IQR 2.6–8.5).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors demonstrated the feasibility of using a multidimensional statistical model as a measure to understand the complex issues of diversity. Their preliminary data suggested that neurosurgery’s challenge in achieving the desired diversity relates to uneven attraction and/or recruitment across an increasingly diverse medical student body. In recent years, neurosurgery has made great progress in the arena of diversity and has shown a strong desire to do more. Utilization of these diversity measures will help the neurosurgery field to monitor progress along this valuable journey.