Recruitment, Promotion and Retention of Women in Academic Medicine: How Institutions Are Addressing Gender Disparities

brief description
Carr, P., Gunn, C., Raj, A., Kaplan, S. and Freund, K., 2017. Recruitment, Promotion, and Retention of Women in Academic Medicine: How Institutions Are Addressing Gender Disparities. Women's Health Issues, 27(3), pp.374-381.
additional information
Objective—Greater numbers of women in medicine have not resulted in more women achieving senior positions. Programs supporting recruitment, promotion and retention of women in academic medicine could help to achieve greater advancement of more women to leadership positions. Qualitative research was conducted to understand such programs at 23 institutions and, using the social ecological model, examine how they operate at the individual, interpersonal, institutional, academic community and policy levels.

Methods—Telephone interviews were conducted with faculty representatives (N=44) of the Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS), Diversity and Inclusion (GDI) or senior leaders with knowledge on gender climate in 24 medical schools. Four trained interviewers conducted semi-structured interviews that addressed faculty perceptions of gender equity and advancement, which were audio-taped and transcribed. The data were categorized into three content areas: recruitment, promotion and retention, and coded a priori for each area based on their social ecological level of operation.

Findings—Participants from nearly 40% of the institutions reported no special programs for recruiting, promoting or retaining women, largely describing such programming as unnecessary. Existing programs primarily targeted the individual and interpersonal levels simultaneously, via training, mentoring, and networking, or the institutional level, via search committee trainings, child and elder care, and spousal hiring programs. Lesser effort at the academic community and policy levels were described.

Conclusions—Our findings demonstrate that many US medical schools have no programs supporting gender equity among medical faculty. Existing programs primarily target the individual or interpersonal level of the social ecological interaction. The academic community and broader policy environment require greater focus as levels with little attention to advancing women’s careers. Universal multi-level efforts are needed to more effectively advance the careers of medical women faculty and support gender equity.