We are very excited to present a special installment of the ALiEM Journal Club in collaboration with FeminEM featuring the JAMA article by Jena et al. entitled “Sex Differences in Academic Rank in U.S. Medical Schools in 2014.” 1 Despite correcting for a multitude of metrics such as time since residency completion and research productivity, women remain substantially less likely to attain the rank of full professor at academic centers. To many, this article’s conclusions come as no surprise. This journal club is meant to inspire discussion around gender disparities and brainstorm solutions of equality for all involved in academic medicine.
Looking back through the literature, the gender gap in promotion within academic medicine has been well documented. In fact, a similarly designed study, published in JAMA (1995) drew the same conclusions. 2 These disparities were initially attributed to the broader under-representation of women in the medical field as a whole; it was assumed that as more women steadily entered medicine, the gap would naturally close itself. In many senses, tremendous progress has been made with women now comprising 47% of the matriculants into medical school and 46% of residents. 3 This progress, however, has yet to be reflected when it comes to achieving high academic rank and leadership positions within departments.
As with all the ALiEM journal clubs, we intend to aim a critical eye at the study and its impact, but for this FeminEMs edition, we hope to direct our discussion towards addressing the persistence of gender bias within academic medicine and what we specifically can do to support and advance our colleagues. To that end, we hope you will join us for an online discussion of the impact of this article and the questions featured below from now until Friday 10/22/2015. Please respond to the discussion questions below in the comments or tweet your response with the hashtag #FeminemJC.
Google Hangout with Dr. Anupam Jena (JAMA paper lead author)
Sit back and watch this 30-minute panel discussion with Dr. Jena (or listen to the audio-only Soundcloud version of the same discussion).
Discussion Panel with Dr. Jena:
- Kinjal Sethuraman, MD MPH, moderator (@KinjNS)
Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine; Associate Director of Hyperbaric Medicine; R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center
- Anupam Jena, MD PhD, lead author JAMA paper
Associate Professor, Department of Health Care Policy
Harvard Medical School
- Stephanie Abbuhl, MD
Professor of Emergency Medicine, Executive Director of FOCUS on Health and Leadership for Women; University of Pennsylvania
- Dara Kass, MD (@darakass)
Assistant Professor,Director of Undergraduate Medical Education; New York University School of Medicine; Editor in Chief: FemInEM (www.feminem.org)
- Alyssa Westring, PhD (@alyssawestring)
Assistant Professor, Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Driehaus College of Business, DePaul University
- Q1. What are successful strategies for supporting the promotion and retention of women in medicine? At what level should we be intervening to recruit women into research and leadership tracks? Is there a make or break point when we are most likely to lose women?
- Q2. Do promotion metrics reflect clinical performance/education/ the “non-quantifiable” contributions or additional responsibilities that women often assume – Do we integrate those extra-clinical responsibilities and make sure they’re taken into account when it comes to productivity measures?
- Q3. As discussed at the end of the article, the disparity in promotion is often attributed to women preferentially placing themselves in clinician educator tracks. Does the solution lie in getting women into a research track OR in evolving how the clinician educator track is valued at academic institutions or both?
- Q4. Cultivating mentorship early is frequently offered as a solution these disparities. What formal or informal mentorship programs exist for women in EM and how do you think they are beneficial?
Please participate in the journal club by answering either on the ALiEM blog comments below or by Twitter using the hashtag#FeminemJC. Please denote the question you are responding to by starting your reply with Q1, Q2, Q3, or Q4.