Female and underrepresented minority faculty in academic departments of family medicine: are women and minorities better off in family medicine?

Fam Med. 2001 Jun;33(6):459-65.


Background: Several studies have shown that the percentage of women represented in senior academic positions at US medical schools is lower than the percentage of men in senior positions. Similarly, the percentage of minority faculty members represented in senior academic positions is lower than that of their majority counterparts. This study assessed whether these findings were also present in departments of family medicine and identified any factors related to the institution or department that favored academic success for women and minorities.

Methods: Data regarding faculty workforce composition, including faculty rank and rank for women and underrepresented minorities, were extracted from a comprehensive survey of departments of family medicine at US allopathic medical schools. The data are based on faculty workforce in 1997 and include responses from 58 (51%) of all schools with a department of family medicine.

Results: Faculty in departments of family medicine were more likely to be female (41% versus 25%) and an underrepresented minority (9% versus 4%), compared with all academic medicine disciplines. However, women in full-time positions were less likely than men, and minorities were less likely than nonminorities, to be either an associate or full professor. We could find no institutional or departmental characteristics that were associated with academic success for women or minority faculty members.

Conclusions: While women and underrepresented minorities are more common to the faculty workforce in family medicine, members of both of these groups are not well represented in senior faculty ranks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Achievement
  • Career Mobility
  • Faculty, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physicians, Women / supply & distribution*
  • Schools, Medical* / organization & administration
  • Schools, Medical* / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Distribution
  • United States
  • Workforce