Refereed review article in scientific journal (A2)

Racial discrimination in surgery: A systematic review

List of AuthorsEl Boghdady Michael, Ewalds-Kvist Betarice


Publication year2023

JournalUpdates in surgery

Journal acronymUpdates Surg




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Racial/ethnic discrimination indicates the stereotyped or unkind conduct of superiority towards other persons based on their race or skin color. The UK General Medical Council published a statement supporting zero-tolerance approach to racism in the workplace. We aimed to systematically review racial discrimination in surgery and answer the following questions: (1) Does racial/ethnic discrimination in surgery exist in citations from the last 5 years. (2) If yes, are ways suggested to reduce racial/ethnic discrimination in surgery?


The systematic review was performed in compliance with the PRISMA guidelines along AMSTAR 2. A 5-year literature search was carried out on PubMed for articles published from 1/1/2017 to 01/11/2022. Search terms were ‘racial discrimination and surgery’, ‘racism OR discrimination AND surgery’, ‘racism OR discrimination AND surgical education’. The retrieved citations were quality assessed by MERSQI and evidence graded by GRADE.


A total of 9116 participants responded with a mean of 1013 (SD = 2408) responses per citations reported in 9 studies from a final list of 10 included citations. Nine studies were from USA and 1 from South Africa. There was evidence of racial discrimination in the last 5 years and the results were justified on strong scientific evidence constituting the basis for evidence grade I. The second question’s answer was ‘yes’ which was defendable on moderate scientific recommendation and thereby establishing the basis for evidence grade II.


There was sufficient evidence for the presence of racial discrimination in surgical practice in the last 5 years. Ways to decrease racial discrimination in surgery exist. Healthcare and training systems must increase the awareness of these issues to eliminate the harmful effect on the individual as well as on the level of the surgical team performance. The existence of the discussed problems must be managed in more countries with diverse healthcare systems.

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Last updated on 2023-23-03 at 10:02