DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znad258.382 ISSN:

309 Racial Discrimination in Surgical Practice: A Global Review

M El Boghdady, B Ewalds-Kvist
  • Surgery



Racial discrimination indicates the unkind conduct towards other persons based on their race or skin color. We aimed to systematically review racial discrimination in surgery and answer the following questions:1) Does racial/ethnic discrimination in surgery exist in the last 5 years. 2) If yes, are ways suggested to reduce racial/ethnic discrimination in surgery?


The systematic review was performed in compliance with the PRISMA guidelines along AMSTAR 2. A 5-year literature search was carried out on PubMed for articles published from 1/1/2017 to 01/11/2022. The retrieved citations were quality assessed by MERSQI and evidence graded by GRADE.


A total of 9116 participants responded with a mean of 1013 (SD = 2408) responses per citations reported in 9 studies from a final list of 10 included citations. Nine studies were from USA and 1 from South Africa. The evidence of racial discrimination was justified on strong scientific evidence constituting the basis for grade I. The second question’s answer was ‘yes’ which was defendable on moderate scientific recommendation and thereby establishing the basis for evidence grade II.


There is sufficient evidence for the presence of racial discrimination in surgical practice in the last 5 years in the US. Ways to decrease racial discrimination in surgery exist. Healthcare and training systems must increase the awareness of these issues to eliminate the harmful effect on the individual and on the surgical team’s performance. The existence of the discussed problems needs to be managed in more countries with diverse healthcare systems.

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