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Jan 9, 2013

Women comprise nearly half of all US medical students but they remain underrepresented in academic practice within surgical specialties.  To see if this occurs in otolaryngology departments, the authors analyzed faculty listings from academic departments and compared academic rank and h-index by gender.  The h-index was chosen to reflect scholarly productivity, since it reflects the number of manuscripts published by the author that have been cited at least that many times (e.g., an h-index of 10 means they published 10 articles cited by others 10 or more times each).  Men had higher h-indices than women at junior academic ranks, but the productivity rates of women increased and equaled, or surpassed, those of men later in their careers.  Women academic otolaryngologists of senior rank had higher h-indices than their male counterparts.  Despite this higher productivity women are underrepresented in positions of leadership and seniority, which is likely generational since the proportion of female otolaryngology residents has only recently exceeded 20%.