Female Residents Give Themselves Lower Scores Than Male Colleagues and Faculty Evaluators on ACGME Milestones

Jacqueline M. Brady, Alexandra Bray, Peter Kim, Brandon Schneider, Julienne Lippe, Deana Mercer, Karen Sutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: Orthopedic surgery is one of the specialties with the lowest number of women residents and practicing surgeons. The gender discrepancy in orthopedic residency training may drive a competency bias. We asked whether female orthopedic surgery residents score themselves lower on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Milestones than their male counterparts, and lower than their faculty evaluators. Design: We conducted a retrospective review of ACGME Milestone data from faculty and residents over a 4-year period. The data were analyzed using a snapshot of PGY2 (n = 20 residents) and PGY4 (n = 19 residents) scores, and using a Generalized Estimation Equation (GEE) to account for additional data points from the same residents over the 4-year data collection period. Setting: Assessment scores were compiled from a single orthopedic surgery residency at Oregon Health & Science University from 2014 to 2017. Participants: The residency program has 5 residents in each program year (PGY1 through PGY5); a total of 25 residents during each year of the study were included. Results: On average, female residents scored themselves lower than both their male counterparts and their faculty mentors. Female PGY2 self-evaluation scores were lower than males in both patient care (p = 0.005) and medical knowledge (p < 0.001). When the GEE model was applied to 99 responses from 41 residents over a 4-year period, there were no gender-related differences in resident self-evaluation scores and in faculty scores of male and female residents, with the exception of meniscal tear. For this milestone, faculty rated female residents lower than males. Furthermore, the differences between faculty evaluation scores and resident self-evaluation scores were significantly lower for males than for females for 4 of the clinical domains, as well as the systems-based practice domains of cost and communication. Conclusions: Our results indicate female residents are at risk for a competency bias during training, as reflected by evaluations using the ACGME Milestones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1305-1311
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • ACGME Milestones
  • Medical Knowledge
  • Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
  • competency bias
  • resident education
  • women in surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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