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Racial and gender disparities in neurology
  1. Sidra Saleem1,
  2. Sadiq Naveed2,
  3. Amna Mohyud Din Chaudhary3,
  4. Muhammad Zeshan4,
  5. Dawood Hafeez5,
  6. Javed Siddiqi6,
  7. Faisal Khosa7
  1. 1 Neurology, University of Toledo College of Medicine, Toledo, Ohio, USA
  2. 2 Child and Adolescent Inpatient Units, Institute of Living, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
  3. 3 Internal Medicine, Nishtar Medical College and Hospital, Multan, Pakistan
  4. 4 Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey, USA
  5. 5 Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA
  6. 6 Desert Regional Medical Center, Palm Springs, California, USA
  7. 7 University of British Columbia Animal Care and Use Program, Vancouver, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Sadiq Naveed, Psychiatry, University of Kansas Medical Center, 3901 Rainbow Blvd, Kansas City, KS, USA; sadiq.naveed{at}


Introduction The USA is a diverse society with representation from different ethnic and racial backgrounds, resulting in under-represented minorities (URMs) in various specialties of medicine. Our objective was to find the statistical ratio of URMs in the academic faculty of neurology.

Methods This was a retrospective analysis of the American Association of Medical College database. The database covered neurology faculty members from 2006 to 2017.

Results This study shows a significant change in racial representation in faculty ranks over the last 12 years. At chairperson rank, white people decreased from 86.4% to 79.8% whereas Asian, Hispanic and multiple races (non-Hispanic) simultaneously increased from 6.4% to 9.3%, 0.9% to 3.1% and 1.8% to 4.7%, respectively. At the professor rank, white people decreased from 87.4% to 81.6%, while Asians and Hispanics increased from 7.1% to 10.5% and from 0.7% to 2.1%, respectively. At the rank of associate professor, white people decreased from 81.1% to 68.3% whereas Asians, Hispanics and unknown races increased from 10.3% to 19.0%, 1.6% to 3.1% and from 2.1% to 3.5%, respectively. For the rank of assistant professor, white people decreased from 64.7% to 56.9% and Asians increased from 20.5% to 25.9%. Gender differences (men vs women) for the ranks of chairperson, professor, associate professor, assistant professor and instructors were 90.3% and 9.7%, 83.1% and 16.9%, 67.1% and 32.9%, 56.8% and 43.2%, and 48.1% and 51.9%, respectively.

Conclusion Over a period of 12 years the racial proportion in academic neurology has changed, but it is not proportionate to their respective increase in the population of the USA. Moreover, the portion of female faculty increased, but they are still under-represented in leadership roles. This racial and gender disparity can be addressed by well-planned interventions.

  • Neurology
  • epidemiology

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  • Contributors SS: Literature search, writing and composing manuscript. SN: Team leader, modifying research questions, editing manuscript. AMDC: Statistical analysis and data collection. MZ: Helping in writing and editing manuscript. DH: Helping in writing and editing manuscript. JS: Helping in writing and editing manuscript. FK: Conceived the idea, data collection, editing manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests AAMC: Faculty Roster, December 31 snapshots, as of 28 February 2019. This study was partially supported by a grant from the Arrowhead Neuroscience Foundation. The authors have no relevant disclosures. FK is the recipient of the May Cohen Equity, Diversity, and Gender Award – Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (2020); Young Investigator Award – Canadian Association of Radiologists (2019); Rising Star Exchange Scholarship Program of French Society of Radiology (2019) and Humanitarian Award of Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (2019).

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availablity statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplemental information.