Gender disparities in academic vascular surgeons

Matthew Carnevale, John Phair, Paola Batarseh, Samantha LaFontaine, Erin Koelling, Issam Koleilat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Objective: Previous studies have identified significant gender discrepancies in grant funding, leadership positions, and publication impact in surgical subspecialties. We investigated whether these discrepancies were also present in academic vascular surgery. Methods: Academic websites from institutions with vascular surgery training programs were queried to identify academic faculty, and leadership positions were noted. H-index, number of citations, and total number of publications were obtained from Scopus and PubMed. Grant funding amounts and awards data were obtained from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Society for Vascular Surgery websites. Industry funding amount was obtained from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website. Nonsurgical physicians and support staff were excluded from this analysis. Results: We identified 177 female faculty (18.6%) and 774 male faculty (81.4%). A total of 41 (23.2%) female surgeons held leadership positions within their institutions compared with 254 (32.9%) male surgeons (P = .009). Female surgeons held the rank of assistant professor 50.3% of the time in contrast to 33.9% of men (P < .001). The rank of associate professor was held at similar rates, 25.4% vs 20.7% (P = .187), respectively. Fewer women than men held the full professor rank, 10.7% compared with 26.2% (P < .001). Similarly, women held leadership positions less often than men, including division chief (6.8% vs 13.7%; P < .012) and vice chair of surgery (0% vs 2.2%; P < .047), but held more positions as vice dean of surgery (0.6% vs 0%; P < .037) and chief executive officer (0.6% vs 0%; P < .037). Scientific contributions based on the number of each surgeon's publications were found to be statistically different between men and women. Women had an average of 42.3 publications compared with 64.8 for men (P < .001). Female vascular surgeons were cited an average of 655.2 times, less than half the average citations of their male counterparts with 1387 citations (P < .001). The average H-index was 9.5 for female vascular surgeons compared with 13.7 for male vascular surgeons (P < .001). Correcting for years since initial board certification, women had a higher H-index per year in practice (1.32 vs 1.02; P = .005). Female vascular surgeons were more likely to have received NIH grants than their male colleagues (9.6% vs 4.0%; P = .017). Although substantial, the average value of NIH grants awarded was not statistically significant between men and women, with men on average receiving $915,590.74 ($199,119.00-$2,910,600.00) and women receiving $707,205.35 ($61,612.00-$4,857,220.00; P = .416). There was no difference in the distribution of Society for Vascular Surgery seed grants to women and men since 2007. Industry payments made publicly available according to the Sunshine Act for the year 2018 were also compared, and female vascular surgeons received an average of $2155.28 compared with their male counterparts, who received almost four times as much at $8452.43 (P < .001). Conclusions: Although there is certainly improved representation of women in vascular surgery compared with several decades ago, a discrepancy still persists. Women tend to have more grants than men and receive less in industry payments, but they hold fewer leadership positions, do not publish as frequently, and are cited less than their male counterparts. Further investigation should be aimed at identifying the causes of gender disparity and systemic barriers to gender equity in academic vascular surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1445-1450
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Academic output
  • Academic rank
  • Gender disparities
  • Sunshine payments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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