Analysis of physician recipients of recognition awards from the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation by Race and Ethnicity

Oranicha Jumreornvong, Philip Henson, Abid Haque, Ashley N. Sanchez, Angela Samaan, Elena Nehrbass, Julie K. Silver, Miguel X. Escalon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Medical society recognition awards are important resources for physicians in advancing their careers. There is a need to better understand the representation of physician recipients by race and ethnicity, especially in women with intersectional identities. Objective: To assess the proportions of American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) award recipients by race and ethnicity and the intersection of gender. Design: Cross-sectional and retrospective study. Setting and Methods: One hundred seven (n = 107) published online physician award recipients from 2011 to 2020 were categorized by race, ethnicity, and gender by two independent researchers. There was 100% interrater agreement on race and gender and 95% on ethnicity. Data were analyzed with descriptive analysis and multilinear regression. Main Outcome Measurements: Awards given to physicians coded by race (White/Caucasian, Asian, and Black/African American), ethnicity (Hispanic/Latino), and the intersection of gender with race and ethnicity were analyzed. The primary comparator was proportions by race, ethnicity, and gender of academic physicians in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) using Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) data. A secondary aim was recipients’ proportions compared to AAMC benchmarks for all practicing physiatrists. Results: There were no significant differences in representation of award recipients by race or ethnicity compared to the primary comparator of their percentages in academic PM&R. Notably, 96.3% of awards were given to physicians identified as being in or having been in academic medicine. Secondary analysis of award recipients to all practicing physiatrists revealed significant underrepresentation of recipients who were coded as (1) White/Caucasian women, Asian men and women, Black/African American men and women (p =.016), and (2) Hispanic/Latino men and women (p =.028). Conclusions: This is a novel study assessing race and ethnicity in physician recognition awards presented by a medical society. No significant disparities were found among recipients as compared to representation in academic PM&R. However, there were significant disparities when compared to all practicing physiatrists. These findings deserve further investigation and consideration as medical societies strive to equitably support all members.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-362
Number of pages11
JournalPM and R
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


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