, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 201-207

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

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ABSTRACT

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?