Female Representation in the Academic Oncology Physician Workforce: Radiation Oncology Losing Ground to Hematology Oncology

Awad A. Ahmed, Wei Ting Hwang, Emma B. Holliday, Christina H. Chapman, Reshma Jagsi, Charles R. Thomas, Curtiland Deville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Purpose Our purpose was to assess comparative female representation trends for trainees and full-time faculty in the academic radiation oncology and hematology oncology workforce of the United States over 3 decades. Methods and Materials Simple linear regression models with year as the independent variable were used to determine changes in female percentage representation per year and associated 95% confidence intervals for trainees and full-time faculty in each specialty. Results Peak representation was 48.4% (801/1654) in 2013 for hematology oncology trainees, 39.0% (585/1499) in 2014 for hematology oncology full-time faculty, 34.8% (202/581) in 2007 for radiation oncology trainees, and 27.7% (439/1584) in 2015 for radiation oncology full-time faculty. Representation significantly increased for trainees and full-time faculty in both specialties at approximately 1% per year for hematology oncology trainees and full-time faculty and 0.3% per year for radiation oncology trainees and full-time faculty. Compared with radiation oncology, the rates were 3.84 and 2.94 times greater for hematology oncology trainees and full-time faculty, respectively. Conclusion Despite increased female trainee and full-time faculty representation over time in the academic oncology physician workforce, radiation oncology is lagging behind hematology oncology, with trainees declining in recent years in radiation oncology; this suggests a de facto ceiling in female representation. Whether such issues as delayed or insufficient exposure, inadequate mentorship, or specialty competitiveness disparately affect female representation in radiation oncology compared to hematology oncology are underexplored and require continued investigation to ensure that the future oncologic physician workforce reflects the diversity of the population it serves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-33
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

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