underrepresented in medicine; health equity; racial/ ethnic disparities


Other Public Health


Medical journals play an important role in achieving health equity by diversifying their leadership, but there is a dearth of published data on how they are faring. The objective of this study was to assess the proportions of the underrepresented in medicine (UIM) racial/ ethnic minorities in medical journal leadership. We pre-selected 6 prominent general medicine journals, 9 prominent specialty journals, and 5 “control” journals (covering public health, health equity, and bench research), assembled names of all editors/ editorial board members listed on the website-based journal mastheads and used major public internet search engines to obtain information about sex, race, and ethnicity. We searched the journal databases for all articles published on racial/ethnic disparities or health equity by each journal between January 2015 to October 2020.Among general medicine journals, there were no UIM Editors-in-Chief or Deputy Editors; 1 (2%) Black and 3 (5%) Hispanic among Associate Editors (n=65); and 8 (6%) Black, and 2 (2%) Hispanic among Editorial Board Members (n=136). Among specialty journals, there were no UIM Editors-in-Chief; 3 (7%) Black and 0 (0%) Hispanic Deputy or Associate Editors (n=43); 6 (6%) Black and 5 (5%) Hispanic Editorial Board Members (n=105). Among “control” journals, there were Black Editors-in-Chief, but no Hispanic Editors-in-chief; 7 (8%) Black and 1(1%) Hispanic Deputy and Associate editors (n=86); 43 (47%) Black and 3 (3%) Hispanic Editorial Board Members (n=92). There is considerable room for improvement to enhance the involvement of UIM racial/ethnic minority individuals in leadership of prominent general and specialty medical journals.