Identifying Barriers to Building a Diverse Physician Workforce: A National Survey of the ACR Membership

Pari V. Pandharipande, Nathaniel D. Mercaldo, Anna P. Lietz, Claudia L. Seguin, Chrishanae D. Neal, Curtiland Deville, Jay R. Parikh, Gelareh Sadigh, Karla A. Sepulveda, Katherine E. Maturen, Jan Cox, Swati Bansal, Katarzyna J. Macura, Karen Donelan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The aim of this study was to identify potential barriers to building a diverse workforce in radiology and radiation oncology by conducting a national survey of physicians in these fields and studying their reported career experiences. Methods: An electronic survey of ACR members (February 27, 2018, to April 26, 2018) was conducted in which physicians’ attitudes about their work environment, relationships, and culture were queried. The aim was to determine if responses differed by gender or race/ethnicity. In total, 900 invitations were issued; women were oversampled with the goal of equal representation. Descriptive summaries (proportions of yes or no responses) were calculated per item, per subgroup of interest. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify significant associations between gender- and item-specific responses; it was not used in the race/ethnicity analysis because of the small sizes of many subgroups. Results: The response rate was 51.2% (461 of 900). In total, 51.0% of respondents identified as women (235 of 461); the 9.5% (44 of 461) who identified as black or African American, Hispanic, or American Indian or Alaska Native were considered underrepresented minorities. Respondents’ mean age was 40.2 ± 10.4 years. Subgroups varied most in their reporting of unfair or disrespectful treatment. Women were significantly more likely than men to report such treatment attributable to gender (50.6% versus 5.4%; odds ratio, 18.00; 95% confidence interval, 9.29-34.86; P <.001), and 27.9% of underrepresented minorities compared with 2.6% of white non-Hispanic respondents reported such treatment attributable to race/ethnicity. Conclusions: Women and underrepresented minorities disproportionately experience unfair or disrespectful treatment in the workplace. Addressing this problem is likely to be critically important for improving workforce diversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1091-1101
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • Diversity
  • barriers
  • gender
  • radiation oncologist
  • radiologist
  • survey
  • underrepresented minority
  • workforce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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