According to a report published in the May issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, results of a study found that women and minorities going through general surgery training are relatively underrepresented among general surgeons, particular those certified by the American Board of Surgery (ABS).

Study authors Dorothy A. Andriole, M.D., F.A.C.S., and Donna B. Jeffe, Ph.D. researched 3,373 medical school graduates between 1997–2002 who had planned on becoming board certified in surgery after graduation, and followed the graduates for seven years or more, depending on general surgery residency training. The research looked at women and men who intended on getting certified for surgery after graduation, and found that women were more likely to leave surgery and pursue certification in other specialties. Women make up about 50% of total U.S. medical graduates.

In the study, 60% of the graduates achieved ABS certification, 10% were certified by another American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) member board, and 30% were not certified by any ABMS member board.

Researchers, however, did not evaluate why the medical school graduates chose to become certified in other specialty areas, or why some remained in surgery but didn’t become board certified.

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