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The proportion of women and underrepresented racial and ethnic groups (UREGs) matriculating into general cardiology fellowships remains low. To assess a systematic recruitment initiative aimed at ensuring adequate matriculation of women and UREGs in a general cardiology fellowship. This quality improvement study took place at a large, tertiary academic medical center and associated Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Cardiovascular Disease fellowship. Participants included cardiology fellowship and divisional leadership and general cardiology fellow applicants to the Duke Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program from 2017 to 2019. Data analysis was performed from December 2019 to May 2020. Multipronged initiative that created an environment committed to ensuring equity of opportunity. This included the creation of a fellowship diversity and inclusivity task force that drafted recommendations, which included reorganization of the fellowship recruitment committee, and changes to the applicant screening process, the interview day, applicant ranking process, and postmatch interventions. The percentage of matriculating and overall women and UREGs before and after the interventions were recorded. The fellowship received a mean (SD) of 462 (55) applications annually before the interventions (2006-2016) and 611 (27) applications annually after the interventions (2017-2019). Between the 10-year period before the interventions and the 3-year period during the interventions, there was a significant increase in the annual mean (SD) percentage of women (22.4% [2.9%] vs 26.4% [0.07%]; P < .001) and UREG applicants (10.5% [1.1%] vs 12.5% [1.9%]; P = .01) to the program. Among applicants interviewed, the percentage of women increased from 20.0% to 33.5% (P = .01) and that of and UREGs increased from 14.0% to 20.0% (P = .01). Before the interventions, a mean (SD) of 23.2% (16.2%) women and 9.7% (7.8%) UREGs matriculated as first-year fellows, whereas after the interventions, a mean (SD) of 54.2% (7.2%) women and 33.3% (19.0%) UREGs matriculated as first-year fellows. The proportion of the entire fellowship who were women increased from a 5-year mean (SD) of 27.0% (8.8%) to 54.2% (7.2%) after 3 years of interventions, and that of UREGs increased from 5.6% (4.6%) to 33.3% (19.0%). Overall, the proportion of applicants in the entire population who were either women or from UREGs increased from 27.8% to 66.7%. After implementing interventions to promote equity of opportunity in the cardiovascular disease fellowship, the percentage of women and UREGs significantly increased in the fellowship over a 3-year time period. These interventions may be applicable to other cardiovascular disease fellowships seeking to diversify training programs.


Jennifer A Rymer, Camille G Frazier-Mills, Larry R Jackson, Kevin L Thomas, Pamela S Douglas, Andrew Wang, Manesh R Patel, Anna Lisa Crowley. Evaluation of Women and Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Group Representation in a General Cardiology Fellowship After a Systematic Recruitment Initiative. JAMA network open. 2021 Jan 04;4(1):e2030832

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PMID: 33427883

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