A Report of Salaries of Academic Cardiothoracic Surgeons Based on Race and Ethnicity

Nosayaba Enofe, Anastasiia Tompkins, David T. Cooke, Kristen Freeman, J. Michael DiMaio, Walter Merrill, Cherie P. Erkmen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Diversity in the physician workforce improves patient care, physician well-being, and innovation. Workforce diversity is dependent on fair compensation that is unbiased by race or ethnicity. The purpose of our study was to determine if a disparity of representation and salary based on race/ethnicity exists in academic cardiothoracic surgery. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of data collected by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Faculty Data for U.S. Medical School Faculty 2021 and 2022. Salary data was not available if an academic rank and race/ethnicity had fewer than 6 cardiothoracic surgeons. We performed a descriptive analysis of the number of faculty and compared median and mean salaries according to academic rank using paired t-test. RESULTS: Of the 758 academic cardiothoracic surgeons, 64.9% were white, 25.2% Asian, 3.3% Black/African American, 4.9% Hispanic/Latino, and 1.7% other race/ethnicity. Cardiothoracic surgeons at the academic rank of professor were 74.6% White, 17.7% Asian, 3.4% Black/African American, 3.9% Hispanic/Latino, and 0.4% other races. Asian faculty earned 89-171%, Black/African American faculty earned 59-94%, and Hispanic/Latino earned 84-165% of the median salary earned by White faculty. Black/African American faculty consistently and significantly (p = .002) earned lower median salaries compared to White faculty at each academic rank measured. CONCLUSIONS: The academic cardiothoracic surgery workforce lacks diversity, especially at the highest academic ranks. Salary equity among races/ethnicities is complex, requiring additional study. However, Black/African American cardiothoracic surgeons experience low representation and salary disparity at every academic rank measured.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - May 8 2024


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