Examining Faculty Awards for Gender Equity and Evolving Values
Awards given to medical school faculty are one important mechanism for recognizing what is valued in academic medicine. There have been concerns expressed about the gender distribution of awards, and there is also a growing appreciation for the evolving accomplishments and talents that define academic excellence in the 21st century and that should be considered worthy of award recognition.
Examine faculty awards at our institution for gender equity and evolving values.
Recipient data were collected on awards from 1996 to 2007 inclusively at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (SOM). Descriptions of each award also were collected. The female-to-male ratio of award recipients over the time span was reviewed for changes and trends. The title and text of each award announcement were reviewed to determine if the award represented a traditional or a newer concept of excellence in academic medicine.
There were 21 annual awards given to a total of 59 clinical award recipients, 60 research award recipients, and 154 teaching award recipients. Women received 28% of research awards, 29% of teaching awards and 10% of clinical awards. Gender distribution of total awards was similar to that of SOM full-time faculty except in the clinical awards category. Only one award reflected a shift in the culture of individual achievement to one of collaboration and team performance.
Examining both the recipients and content of awards is important to assure they reflect the current composition of diverse faculty and the evolving ideals of leadership and excellence in academic medicine.
KEY WORDSfaculty awards gender equity female-to-male ratio leadership excellence
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