Tracking Career Paths of Women in Neurosurgery

A presentation at the 2017 American Association of Neurological Surgeons Annual Scientific Meeting

Newswise — Winner of the Louise Eisenhardt Travel Scholarship, Jaclyn Janine Renfrow, MD, presented her research, Tracking Career Paths of Women in Neurosurgery, during the 2017 American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) Annual Scientific Meeting.


Women represent a growing cohort of U.S. neurosurgeons. Authors of the study reviewed databases from both the AANS and the American Board of Neurosurgery (ABNS) from 1964 through 2013, reviewing for female neurosurgery graduates.


A total of 379 female neurosurgery residency graduates were identified over the 50 year span. Seventy percent became ABNS certified. Following residency, 27 percent of female graduates pursued fellowship training, with pediatric neurosurgery as the most common fellowship. After training, 26 percent entered academic medicine: 46 percent attained the rank of assistant professor, 36 percent attained the rank of associate professor and only 18 percent reached the rank of full professor.


The study’s conclusion finds that the proportion of female neurosurgery residents is slowly increasing. After training, the distribution of women in private vs. academic environments is roughly equal in proportion to male neurosurgeons. The number of female neurosurgeons in academic leadership positions remains low, with only a single female neurosurgery department chair and an under-representation of woman in higher academic ranks.


Author Block: Analiz Rodriguez, MD, PhD; Taylor Wilson, MD; Isabelle Germano, MD; Aviva Abosch, MD, PhD; and Stacey Wolfe, MD


Disclosure: The author reported no conflicts of interest.


Media Representatives: The 2017 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting press section will include releases on highlighted scientific research, AANS officers and award winners, Neurosurgery Awareness Month and other relevant information about the 2017 program. Releases will be posted under the “Media” area on the 2017 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting website. If you have interest in a topic related to neurosurgery or would like to interview a neurosurgeon — either onsite or via telephone — during the event, please contact Alice Kelsey, AANS associate executive director, via email at


About the 2017 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting: Attended by neurosurgeons, neurosurgical residents, medical students, neuroscience nurses, clinical specialists, physician assistants, allied health professionals and other medical professionals, the AANS Annual Scientific Meeting is the largest gathering of neurosurgeons in the nation, with an emphasis on the field’s latest research and technological advances. The scientific presentations accepted for the 2017 event will represent cutting-edge examples of the incredible developments taking place within the field of neurosurgery. Find additional information about the 2017 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting and the meeting program here.


Founded in 1931 as the Harvey Cushing Society, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) is a scientific and educational association with more than 10,000 members worldwide. The AANS is dedicated to advancing the specialty of neurological surgery in order to provide the highest quality of neurosurgical care to the public. Fellows of the AANS are board-certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or the Mexican Council of Neurological Surgery, A.C. Neurosurgery is the medical specialty concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of disorders that affect the spinal column, spinal cord, brain, nervous system and peripheral nerves.


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