Purpose: To understand the disciplinary contexts in which faculty work, the authors examined demographics, professional characteristics, research productivity, and advancement across seven clinical departments at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and nationally.
Method: HMS analyses included faculty from seven clinical departments-anesthesiology, medicine, neurology, pediatrics, psychiatry, radiology, and surgery-in May 2011 (N = 7,304). National analyses included faculty at 141 U.S. medical schools in the same seven departments as of December 31, 2011 (N = 91,414). The authors used chi-square and Wilcoxon Mann-Whitney tests to compare departmental characteristics.
Results: Heterogeneity in demographics, professional characteristics, and advancement across departments was observed in HMS and national data. At HMS, psychiatry had the highest percentage of underrepresented minority faculty at 6.6% (75/1,139). In anesthesiology, 24.2% (128/530) of faculty were Asian, whereas in psychiatry only 7.9% (90/1,139) were (P < .0001). Female faculty were the majority in pediatrics and psychiatry, whereas in surgery 26.3% (172/654) of the faculty were female (P < .0001). At HMS, surgery, radiology, and neurology had the shortest median times to promotion and the highest median number of publications, H-index, and second-degree centrality. Neurology also had the highest percentage of faculty who had been principal investigators on a National Institutes of Health-funded grant.
Conclusions: There were differences in demographics, professional characteristics, and advancement across clinical departments at HMS and nationally. The context in which faculty work, of which department is a proxy, should be accounted for in research on faculty career outcomes and diversity inclusion in academic medicine.