How Successful Are Interventions to Increase Surgical Workforce Diversity?

PPE, Personal protective equipment
Is racial/ethnic diversity in the surgical workforce effectively achieved through early interventions such as internships and mentorship programs?

Early interventions aimed at increasing racial/ethnic diversity among trainees and faculty for the surgical workforce are all successful, with varying rates of success, according to results of a systematic review presented at the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) 2022 Annual Meeting and OTO Experience, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 10 to 14, 2022.

Lack of diversity among staff has been prevalent across different surgical specialties. Researchers therefore sought to determine whether early interventions effectively increase opportunities to further diversify the workplace.

The researchers conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed articles evaluating interventions in the work place (ie early exposure, mentorship programs, holistic processes for trainees, and commitment to faculty and leadership diversity). Several databases were evaluated from 2000 to 2020, yielding a total of 11 studies involving interventions and outcome measures that met inclusion requirements for the analysis. The studies involved general, orthopedic, and otolaryngology surgery.

All interventions achieved varying degrees of success in increasing surgical workforce diversity. Racial/ethnic diversity was mostly prevalent when internship programs and clerkships (6/11; 54.5%) were introduced, followed by mentorships (3/11; 27.3%). Additionally, diversifying the recruitment and selection process for faculty hiring showed an increase in diversity in 3 studies (27.3%), and updating holistic review processes along with a commitment to diversifying the departments increased diversity in 2 studies (18.2%).

Researchers concluded that evidence supported the “success of targeted interventions to increase racial/ethnic diversity in the surgical workforce.”


Burks C, W. Randolph G, A Varvares M, T Gray, S, Brown D, W Bergmark R. Interventions to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the surgical workforce: a systemic review. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2022;167(1 suppl):P278.