Study Spotlights Paucity of Black Dermatologists in Academia


A minority of Black dermatologists hold leadership positions in academia.


  • To assess the prevalence of Black dermatologists in academic dermatology programs, researchers obtained an inventory of all 142 US-accredited dermatology residency programs from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

  • The researchers drew from institutional websites, the Black Derm Directory (an online repository of Black dermatologists), and other sources to identify full- and part-time Black faculty.

  • Variables of interest for each Black dermatologist included gender, institution, department title, academic and nonacademic leadership roles, publication number, National Institutes of Health grant funding, degrees, subspecialties, medical school attended, place of residency, and fellowship training.

  • The researchers used Pearson’s chi-squared testing to calculate associations.


  • Of the 86 Black faculty identified, 81.4% were female; most (42.4%) were in the Southern United States, followed by the Midwest (23.5%); and 83% held full-time positions.

  • Slightly more than one quarter (26.7%) of the Black faculty attended a top 10 medical school, 16.3% graduated from a historically Black college and university medical school, and 43.5% of those with 25 or more research publications had attended a top 10 medical school.

  • Only three dermatology department chairs were Black, and all were female. In addition, more than half of Black faculty (59.2%) were assistant professors, 37.7% held leadership positions at their institutions, and 32.6% held outside leadership roles in dermatology (such as leadership titles at professional dermatology organizations or editorial positions at a journal).


“Greater efforts are needed to recruit Black dermatology graduates into academic faculty positions,” and “faculty development programs offered by academic institutions and dermatologic associations…should continue to be expanded,” the authors conclude.


Corresponding author Nada Elbuluk, MD, MSc, director of the skin of color and pigmentary disorders program and the diversity and inclusion program in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, led the research. The study was published September 20 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 


The process for identifying Black faculty and insufficient or outdated information on department websites were limitations.


Elbuluk disclosed that she has served as a consultant for Avita, Scientis, Incyte, VisualDx, La Roche Posay, Beiersdorf, and Unilever. She has served on advisory boards for Allergan, Eli Lilly, Galderma, Incyte, Pfizer, Janssen, La Roche Posay, L’Oreal, McGraw Hill, and Dior. She has been a speaker for La Roche Posay, Scientis, Medscape, Beiersdorf, and Dior, and has served as investigator for Avita. Another author is an investigator and speaker for Castle Biosciences.

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