Bhasin A, Musa A, Massoud L, Razikeen A, Noori A, Ghandour A, Gelovani D, Afonso LC, Lieberman R, and Vaidya A. Increasing Diversity in Cardiology: A Fellowship Director's Perspective. Cureus 2021; 13(7):e16344.
Background Underrepresented-minorities (URM) remain few in number amongst practicing cardiologists and across cardiology fellowship training programs in the U.S. Increased diversity is needed across the entire field and is particularly necessary within graduate medical education cardiology fellowship training programs. Objectives This cross-sectional study was performed to identify which strategies were supported and implemented by cardiology fellowship program directors (PDs) to increase URM representation, to determine which entities hold the responsibility to increase diversity according to program directors, and to quantify URM representation in cardiology fellowship programs. Methods A 15-item survey was submitted to all American College of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited cardiology fellowship programs via electronic mail. Results Of 250 cardiology fellowship programs, 71 responses were received (28.4%). The number of URM faculty varied from 0-1 to more than six, and URM faculty held leadership roles in most programs (62.0%). A total of 16 respondents (22.5%) were URM program directors. Most respondents agreed that diversity was important to their training program (85.9%). The majority endorsed direct recruitment of URM applicants (60.6%), opportunities for applicants to connect with (54.9%) or be recruited by URM fellows (54.9%), holistic application review (67.6%), promoting mentorship by URM faculty (69.0%), URM faculty involvement in applicant interviewing (54.9%), and increased recruitment of URM faculty members (73.2%). Program directors allocated major responsibility to increase diversity to fellowship programs (71.8%), residency programs (63.3%), and medical schools (53.5%). Conclusions This study found that most cardiology programs have URM faculty in leadership roles, and nearly a quarter of the surveyed program directors were URMs. Cardiology program directors endorsed and employed numerous strategies to increase diversity and URM representation in fellowship programs. Additionally, program directors held fellowship training programs most responsible for increasing URM representation in the field of cardiology.