Landscape of Canadian Ophthalmology Leadership: Gender, education, academic rank, and research productivity
Authors: Ying Wen, Anne Xuan-Lan Nguyen, Stuti M. Tanya, Isabelle Hardy
Author Disclosure Block: Y. Wen: None. A. Nguyen: None. S.M. Tanya: None. I. Hardy: None.
Purpose: To characterize the landscape of Canadian ophthalmology leadership by gender.
Study Design: Cross-sectional study.
Methods: This study assessed the characteristics of ophthalmology department chairs, program directors (PDs), and other academic ophthalmology leaders (clerkship undergraduate directors, fellowship directors, and research directors) in Canada. Gender, subspecialties, graduate degrees, and academic rank were collected from institutional websites. Research productivity measures (h-index, number of published documents, number of citations, and number of co-authors) were extracted from Elsevier SCOPUS. All statistical analyses were performed using Stata/IC, v16.1.
Results: Out of 113 ophthalmologists, 16 PDs, and 15 chairpersons, the proportions of women representation were 23.0%, 31.3%, and 26.7% respectively. Among the PDs and the chairpersons, the top three specialties for women were cornea, neuro-ophthalmology, and pediatric ophthalmology; while men were most represented in glaucoma, pediatric ophthalmology, and retina. Among the 87 men and 26 women ophthalmologists, a greater proportion of women (19.2%) than men had a PhD and a smaller proportion of women (11.5%) than men (18.4%) had a masters degree, but these differences were not statistically significant, respectively P=0.398 and P=0.412. Men were most likely to be non-specified professors or lecturers (35.6%), followed by assistant professors (31.0%), associate professors (29.9%), and full professors (3.4%). Women were most likely to be assistant professors (38.5%), followed by associate professors (34.6%), non-specified professors or lecturers (19.2%), and full professors (7.7%). Women had a median h-index of 9 [Interquartile Range (IQR): 4-15], 19 [7-37] published documents, 307 [78-816] citations, and 109 [31-203] co-authors. Men had a median h-index of 12 [7-19], 41 [19-85] published documents, 215 [598-1804] citations, and 127.5 [58.5-273.5] co-authors.
Conclusions: Compared to the 28% of active women ophthalmologists (CMA, 2019), our study demonstrates a slight underrepresentation of women leaders with 23% overall. Positive outlooks are noted when regarding the proportions of women chairpersons (27%) and PDs (31%). Future directions include understanding factors contributing to advancement in leadership as well as strategies to improve the gender gap in ophthalmology.