DOI: 10.1097/gox.0000000000004134 ISSN: 2169-7574

Plastic Surgery Diversity through the Decade: Where We Stand and How We Can Improve

J. Andres Hernandez, Carmen I. Kloer, Denisse Porras Fimbres, Brett T. Phillips, Linda C. Cendales
  • Surgery
  • General Medicine


Several studies over the past decade have investigated diversity within the field of plastic surgery, yet it remains unclear if an increase has resulted. This study sought to review the status of diversity within plastic surgery over the last decade and form strategies for residency programs to increase diversity recruitment.


Data analysis of racial demographics from the Association of American Medical Colleges databases was completed for all medical students, integrated plastic surgery residency applicants, integrated plastic surgery residents, and academic faculty from 2010 to 2020. Proportional averages were analyzed comparing 5 year durations with heteroscedastic t-tests. Interviews were then conducted with medical school diversity and inclusion officers across the country and subsequent thematic analysis was completed. Finally, diversity recruitment recommendations were synthesized from interview data.


There was no significant change in demographics of integrated plastic surgery applicants between 2010–2014 and 2015–2020. The only significant finding among integrated plastic surgery residents yielded a reduction in the “Hispanic/ Latino” group (4% -3%, P = 0.01). Faculty data showed an increase in “Hispanic/ Latino” (4% -5%, P < 0.01) and “other” (4% -5%, P = 0.02) groups with a reduction in “White” faculty members (74% -70%, P < 0.01). Final recommendations for diversity recruitment were then formed from diversity and inclusion officer interviews.


Continuous and sustainable work with respect to diversity and inclusion within plastic surgery has an opportunity for growth. Implementation of key recommendations by residency programs can change the face of our specialty going forward.

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