Experiencing the Culture of Academic Medicine: Gender Matters, A National Study

Women's Studies Research Center, National Initiative on Gender, Culture and Leadership in Medicine: C - Change, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, USA, .
Journal of General Internal Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.42). 02/2013; 28(2):201-207. DOI: 10.1007/s11606-012-2207-1
Source: PubMed


BACKGROUND: Energized and productive faculty are critical to academic medicine, yet studies indicate a lack of advancement and senior roles for women. OBJECTIVE: Using measures of key aspects of the culture of academic medicine, this study sought to identify similarity and dissimilarity between perceptions of the culture by male and female faculty. DESIGN: The C - Change Faculty Survey was used to collect data on perceptions of organizational culture. PARTICIPANTS: A stratified random sample of 4,578 full-time faculty at 26 nationally representative US medical colleges (response rate 52 %). 1,271 (53 %) of respondents were female. MAIN MEASURES: Factor analysis assisted in the creation of scales assessing dimensions of the culture, which served as the key outcomes. Regression analysis identified gender differences while controlling for other demographic characteristics. KEY RESULTS: Compared with men, female faculty reported a lower sense of belonging and relationships within the workplace (T = -3.30, p < 0.01). Self-efficacy for career advancement was lower in women (T = -4.73, p < 0.001). Women perceived lower gender equity (T = -19.82, p < 0.001), and were less likely to believe their institutions were making changes to address diversity goals (T = -9.70, p < 0.001). Women were less likely than men to perceive their institution as family-friendly (T = -4.06, p < 0.001), and women reported less congruence between their own values and those of their institutions (T = -2.06, p < 0.05). Women and men did not differ significantly on levels of engagement, leadership aspirations, feelings of ethical/moral distress, perception of institutional commitment to faculty advancement, or perception of institutional change efforts to improve support for faculty. CONCLUSIONS: Faculty men and women are equally engaged in their work and share similar leadership aspirations. However, medical schools have failed to create and sustain an environment where women feel fully accepted and supported to succeed; how can we ensure that medical schools are fully using the talent pool of a third of its faculty?

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    • "org/members/gwims/statistics). Based on these data, many women decide to stay in academic medicine following completion of postgraduate medical training, but only a few are promoted to the full professor level — despite evidence that men and women are equally engaged in their work and share similar leadership aspirations [2]. If it is not lack of motivation, or lack of ability [1], subtle gender bias may be a factor that is an impediment for women in academic medicine. "
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    • "Three previous questionnaire-based studies demonstrated that gender-based discrimination (GD) and SH were prevalent in undergraduate medical education as well as among medical school faculty (13–15). A 2013 study measuring the key aspects of academic medicine culture noted that though male and female medical academicians were equally engaged in their work and had similar professional aspirations, medical institutions have failed to provide an environment supporting and accepting of women in medicine (14). Another recent study surveyed 4,578 full-time faculty from 26 representative US medical schools and noted that gender was not predictive of intentions for leaving academic medicine (15). "
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    • "Equally unsupported is the explanation that women are less committed to their careers because of family and other personal responsibilities. Recent studies have suggested that a balance between work and other activities is as important to men as it is to women, at least among the younger physicians [14-16], and that there is no significant gender difference in the reported importance of career advancement or in the extent to which work and personal life conflicted [11,17]. Another proposed explanation, the lack of quality in the work produced by women, has been dismissed by Housri and colleagues [18], who showed an increased frequency with which female authors are cited as well as an increased rate of publication in the journals with higher impact factors [18]. "
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