Sex and race visual representation in emergency medicine textbooks and the hidden curriculum

Annahieta Kalantari, Al'ai Alvarez, Nicole Battaglioli, Arlene Chung, Robert Cooney, Susan J. Boehmer, Albert Nwabueze, Michael Gottlieb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: In addition to formal training, informal training often occurs through a hidden curriculum. As the hidden curriculum shapes the knowledge and values held by learners, we must consider its role in implicit bias. One example is through the selection of images used in formal instruction. This study aimed to examine the representation of sex and race among images in two textbooks in emergency medicine (EM). Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of the sex and race representation of figures in Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice 9th Edition and Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide 9th Edition. Two reviewers screened all images for inclusion, with disagreements resolved by a third reviewer. Images were excluded if they did not include visualized skin. Two reviewers independently reviewed each image and assessed the sex, race, and roles in the image. A third reviewer resolved any disagreements. Results: A total of 959 images (Rosen's n = 377; Tintinalli's n = 582) met inclusion criteria. Race was estimated in 877 cases (91.3%). Of those, White individuals comprised 77.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] 75.0%–80.2%). Sex was estimated in 362 cases (37.7%). Of those images, males comprised 70.2% (95% CI 65.4%–74.9%), and females comprised 29.8% (95% CI 25.1%–34.6%). Conclusion: There is a male sex and White race predominance in visual representation among two EM textbooks. We propose a call to action for the mindful selection of images in formal education to represent diversity, equity, and inclusion and close the gap between the formal and hidden curriculum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere10743
JournalAEM Education and Training
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Education
  • Emergency


Dive into the research topics of 'Sex and race visual representation in emergency medicine textbooks and the hidden curriculum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this