Where Are We in Bridging the Gender Leadership Gap in Academic Medicine?

Acad Med. 2020 Oct;95(10):1475-1476. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000003574.


In nearly all walks of life, leadership sets the tone for what gets done, who does it, and how it is achieved. In 2020, the top ranks of academic medicine have not yet attained gender parity-an aspirational goal set 7 years ago in this journal as "50:50 by 2020," and a vital aim for the United States' productivity and innovation as a leader in biomedical research. Parity in academic leadership for women and other groups underrepresented in science and medicine will seed the culture change necessary for inclusive excellence: environments in which individuals from all backgrounds thrive in their pursuit of new knowledge to benefit human health.In this Invited Commentary, the author describes the National Institutes of Health's (NIH's) current system-wide framework and tools for creating cultures of inclusive excellence through a set of guiding principles and integrated strategies. Successful efforts will recognize that individually focused solutions are necessary but not sufficient for institutional culture change. In keeping with a systems approach are implementing accountability and transparency; establishing clear metrics of inclusion, diversity, and equity; tracking and evaluating such metrics; as well as tying these metrics to institutional reward systems. These essential steps to institutional culture transformation require strong partnerships between NIH and the academic community. The author argues that with committed vision, focus, and energy, success is attainable, and soon.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / organization & administration*
  • Faculty, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Male
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Physicians, Women / organization & administration*
  • United States