Female Med Students Publish Less, Despite Higher Number of Research Experiences

Among medical school students, there are significant disparities in publication rates across sex and race and ethnicity, according to a study published online Oct. 25 in JAMA Network Open.

Mytien Nguyen, from Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues examined the relationship between student sex and racial and ethnic identity with publication rates during medical school. The analysis included 31,474 graduates who matriculated in academic years 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016.

The researchers found that students attending a National Institutes of Health top 40 research-ranked school reported a higher number of research experiences and publication counts than students from non-top 40 schools. While women reported a higher number of research experiences than men, they had significantly fewer publications (top 40 schools: adjusted rate ratio [aRR], 0.89; non-top 40 schools: aRR, 0.93). Asian students had higher publication rates than White students at both top 40 schools (aRR, 1.10) and non-top 40 schools (aRR, 1.07). Publication rates were lower among Black students (top 40 schools: aRR, 0.83; non-top 40 schools: aRR, 0.88) and Hispanic students attending non-top 40 schools (aRR, 0.93).

“These findings illustrate that inequities in the physician-scientist workforce began early in training and highlight key areas for intervention, such as funding support and mentorship training during undergraduate medical education, that may promote the future success of a diverse physician-scientist workforce,” the authors write.

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