Why There Aren't More Women Leaders in Academic Medicine

Research on the preparation, challenges, and leadership issues of medical school department chairs

In 1998 and 1999, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) conducted a study of the challenges facing medical school department chairs, with particular attention to issues confronting women in such leadership positions.

Key Findings

The findings, which are based on interviews with 34 department chairs and two division chiefs in five specialty areas (surgery, pathology, obstetrics-gynecology, internal medicine, and family medicine), include the following:

  • Interviewees universally acknowledged the existence of barriers to the advancement of women.

  • They agreed that, without significant institutional change, women will continue to be underrepresented among the leadership in academic medicine.