Diversity of Pain Medicine Trainees and Faculty in the United States: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Fellowship Training from 2009-2019

Charles A. Odonkor, Brooks Leitner, Salam Taraben, Peju Adekoya, Vwaire Orhurhu, Salman Hirani, Kenneth Ike, Roger Lee, Stephanie Vanterpool, Johnathan H. Goree, Kate Sully, Lawrence Poree

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Diversity and equity in medicine remain pivotal to care delivery. Data analysis on sex and racial diversity of pain medicine fellowship trainees and faculty in the United States are scant. We sought to characterize demographic and retention patterns among pain medicine fellows and faculty, who represent the emerging chronic pain management workforce. Design: cross-sectional retrospective analysis. Method: We conducted an analysis of data from the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the United States Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-approved residency and fellowship training-programs for each year from 2009 through 2019, inclusively. We compared changes in sex, racial/ethnicity composition and retention rates of fellows and faculty in the United States by practice setting. Results: From 2009 to 2019, there was a 14% increase in the number of ACGME pain fellowship programs. From 2009 to 2019, the ratio of men to women pain fellows ranged from 5:1 to 3.7:1. Compared with their self-identified White peers, Asian (OR 0.44; 95% CI: 0.34-0.58), Black (OR 0.46; 95% CI: 0.30-0.72), and Native American/Alaskan Native (OR 0.26; 95% CI: 0.08-0.80) identifying individuals had significantly lower odds of being a pain fellow, P < 0.05. There was no significant difference in female (OR = 0.4, 95% CI: 0.148-1.09) and Black (OR 0.36; 95% CI: 0.11-1.12) program-directors. Pain-fellow in-state retention was 53%. Conclusions: The demographics of pain medicine training programs reflect a persistent male vs. female gap with underrepresentation of racial minorities. Further research is needed to elucidate reasons underlying these disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)819-828
Number of pages10
JournalPain Medicine (United States)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021


  • Diversity
  • Faculty
  • Fellows
  • Pain Medicine
  • Race
  • Sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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