Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 356–362 | Cite as

A Summary Report from the Research Partnership on Women in Science Careers

  • Phyllis L. CarrEmail author
  • Deborah Helitzer
  • Karen Freund
  • Alyssa Westring
  • Richard McGee
  • Patricia B. Campbell
  • Christine V. Wood
  • Amparo Villablanca
Original Research



In response to the landmark report “Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering,” the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health issued a request for applications that funded 14 R01 grants to investigate causal factors to career success for women in STEM. Following completion of the 4-year grants, the grant PIs formed a grassroots collaborative, the Research Partnership on Women in Science Careers.


To summarize the work of the Research Partnership, which resulted in over 100 publications.


We developed six themes to organize the publications, with a “Best Practices” for each theme at the end of each section: Barriers to Career Advancement; Mentoring, Coaching, and Sponsorship; Career Flexibility and Work-Life Balance; Pathways to Leadership; Compensation Equity; and Advocating for Change and Stakeholder Engagement.


Women still contend with sexual harassment, stereotype threat, a disproportionate burden of family responsibilities, a lack of parity in compensation and resource allocation, and implicit bias. Strategies to address these barriers using the Bronfenbrenner ecological model at the individual, interpersonal, institutional, academic community, and policy levels include effective mentoring and coaching, having a strong publication record, addressing prescriptive gender norms, positive counter-stereotype imaging, career development training, networking, and external career programs such as the AAMC Early and Mid-Career Programs and Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM).


Cultural transformation is needed to address the barriers to career advancement for women. Implementing the best practices noted of the work of the Research Partnership can help to achieve this goal.


women’s careers biomedical sciences leadership mentoring work-life balance institutional climate 


Funding Information

Funding for the research reported in this article was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Science and the Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health, under award number R01 GM088470.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


There are no presentations to report.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11606_2018_4547_MOESM1_ESM.docx (12 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 12 kb)


  1. 1.
    Carr PL, Raj A, Kaplan SE, Terrin N, Breeze JL, Freund KM. “Gender differences in academic medicine in retention, rank and leadership: a quantitative study” Academic Medicine. (In press)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Burgess DJ, Joseph A, Van Byr M, Carnes ML. “Does stereotype threat affect women in academic medicine?” Acad Med. 2012;87(4):506–509.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Sciences and Engineering. National Academy of Science and Engineering and Institute of Medicine. National Academies Press. 2006. Washington, D.C.
  4. 4.
    Acad Med. 2016;91(8)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    J Wom Health. 2017;25(5)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bronfenbrenner, U (1979) The Experimental Ecology of Human Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Carr PL, Gunn CM, Kaplan SA, Raj A, Freund KM. “Inadequate progress for women in academic medicine: findings from the National Faculty Study.” J Women’s Health. 2015;24(3):190–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Jagsi R, Griffith KA, Jones R, Perumalswami CR, Ubel P, Stewart A. “Sexual harassment and discrimination experiences of academic medical faculty.” JAMA. 2016;315(19):2120–2121.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ash AS, Carr PL, Goldstein R, Friedman RH. “Compensation and advancement of women in academic medicine: is there equity?” Ann Intern Med. 2004;141(3):205–212.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Raj A, Carr PL, Kaplan SE, Terrin N, Breeze JL, Freund KM. “Longitudinal analysis of gender differences in academic productivity among faculty across 24 medical schools in the United States.” Acad Med. 2016;91(8):1074–1079.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Carr PL, Gunn C, Raj A, Kaplan SE, Freund KM. “Recruitment, promotion and retention of women in academic medicine: how institutions are addressing gender disparities.” Women’s Health issues. 2017. S1049–3867.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Helitzer DL, Newbill SL, Morahan PS, Magrane D, Cardinali G, Wu CC, Chang S. “Perceptions of skill development of participants in three national career development programs for women faculty in academic medicine. Acad Med. 2014;89(6):896–903.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hill CF, Hill EV, Wake M, Blade-Beard SD, Reede JY. “Career programs in academic medicine: perspectives from junior faculty of color.” CGO Insights. 2014;39. Center for Gender in Organizations, Simmons School of Management, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Carapinha R, McCracken CM, Warner ET, Hill EV, Reede JY. “Organizational context and female faculty’s perception of the climate for women in academic medicine.” J Women’s Health. 2017;26(5):549–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Sassler S, Glass J, Levitte Y, Michelmore KM. “The missing women in STEM? Assessing gender differentials in the factors associated with transition to first jobs.” Social Sciences Research. 2017;63(3):192–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
  17. 17.
  18. 18.
    Gazley JL, Remich R, Naffziger-Hirsch ME, Keller J, Campbell PB, McGee R. (2016). Beyond preparation: identity, cultural capital, and readiness for graduate school in the biomedical sciences. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 2015 Oct; 51(8): 1021–1048.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Remich R, Jones R, Wood CV, Campbell PB, McGee R. (2016). How women in biomedical PhD programs manage gender consciousness as they persist toward academic research careers. Academic Medicine. 2016 Aug; 91(8):1119–27.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Wood, CV, Campbell PB, McGee R. (2016). ‘An incredibly steep hill:’ how gender, race, and class shape perspectives on academic careers among beginning biomedical PhD students. 22(2): 159–181.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Remich R, Naffziger-Hirsch ME, Gazley JL, McGee R. (2016). Scientific growth and identity development during a post-baccalaureate program: results from a multisite qualitative study. CBE Life Science Education. 2016 Fall; 15(3).Google Scholar
  22. 22.
  23. 23.
    Thakore BK, Naffziger-Hirsch ME, Richardson JL, Williams SN, McGee R Jr1. (2014). The academy for future science faculty: randomized controlled trial of theory-driven coaching to shape development and diversity of early-career scientists. BMC Medical Education. 2014. 2;14:160.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Williams SN, Thakore BK, McGee R. (2016). Coaching to augment mentoring to achieve faculty diversity: a randomized controlled trial. Academic Medicine. 2016 Aug; 91(8): 1128–35.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Williams SN, Thakore BK, McGee R. (2016). Career coaches as a source of vicarious learning for racial and ethnic minority PhD students in the biomedical sciences: a qualitative study. PLoS One. 2016 Jul 28; 11(7).Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Carapinha R, Otiz-Walters R, Hill EV, Reede JY. Variability in women faculty’s preferences regarding mentor similarity: a multi-institution study in academic medicine. Acad Med. 2016 Aug; 91(8): 1108–1118CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    DeCastro R, Sambuco D, Ubel PA, Stewart A, Jagsi R. Mentor networks in academic medicine: moving beyond a dyadic conception of mentoring for junior faculty researchers. Acad Med. 2013 Apr; 88:488–96.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    DeCastro R, Griffith KA, Ubel PA, Stewart A, Jagsi R. Mentoring and the career satisfaction of male and female academic medical faculty. Acad Med. 2014 Feb; 89(2): 301–311.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Travis EL, Doty L, Helitzer DL. “Sponsorship: a path to the academic C-suite for women faculty?” 2013;88(10):141–147.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Strong EA, DeCastro R, Sambuco D, Stewart A, Ubel PA, Griffith KA, Jagsi R. “Work-life balance in academic medicine: narratives of physician-researchers and their mentors.” JGIM. 2013;28(12):1596–1603.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Jolly S, Griffith KA, DeCastro R, Stewart A, Ubel P, Jagsi R. “Gender differences in time spent on parenting and domestic responsibilities by high-achieving young physician-researchers.” Ann Intern Med. 2014;160(5):344-53.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Beckett L, Nettiksimmons J, Howell LP, Villablanca AC. “Do family responsibilities and a clinical versus research faculty position affect satisfaction with career and work-life balance for medical school faculty?” J Women’s Health. 2015;24(6):471–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Villablanca A, Beckett L, Nettiksimmons J, Howell LP. “Career flexibility and family-friendly policies: an NIH-funded study to enhance women’s careers in biomedical sciences.” J Women’s Health. 2011;20(10):Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Howell LP, Beckett LA, Nettiksimmons J, Villablanca A. “Generational and gender perspectives on career flexibility: ensuring the faculty workforce of the future.” Am J Med. 2012;125:719–728.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Gunn CM, Freund KM, Kaplan SA, Raj A, Carr PL. “Knowledge and perceptions of family leave policies among female faculty in academic medicine.” Women’s Health Issues. 2014;24(2):e205–10.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Shauman K, Howell LP, Paterniti D, Beckett L, Villablanca A. “Barriers to career flexibility in academic Medicine: a qualitative analysis of reasons for the underutilization of family-friendly policies and implications for institutional change and department chair leadership.” (Accepted at Academic Medicine)Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Howell LP, Beckett LA, Villablanca AC. “Expectations of the ideal worker and the influence of professional identity in academic medicine: findings from a career flexibility educational Intervention.” Submitted to the American Journal of Medicine.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Villablanca AC, Beckett L, Nettiksimmons J, Howell LP. “Improving knowledge, awareness and use of flexible career policies through an accelerator intervention at the UC Davis School of Medicine. Acad Med. 2013;88(6):771–777.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Shauman K, Howell L, Paterniti D, Beckett L, Villablanca A. “Barriers to career flexibility in academic medicine: a qualitative analysis of reasons for the under-utilization of family friendly policies and implications for institutional change and department chair leadership”
  40. 40.
    Magrane D, Helitzer DL, Morahan P, Chang S, Gleason K, Cardinali G, Wu CC. “Influences of professional development on the careers of women in medicine—use of a conceptual systems model to define essential research questions.” J Women’s Health. 2012;21(12):Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Carnes M, Johnson P, Klein W, Jenkins M, Merz NB. “Advancing women’s health and women’s leadership with endowed chairs in women’s health.” Acad Med. 2017 Feb;92(2):167–174.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Westring A, Speck RM, Sammel MD, Scott P, Tuton LW, Grisso JA, Abbhul S. “A culture conducive to women’s academic success: development of a measure” Acad Med. 2012;87(11)1622–1631.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Grisso JA, Sammel MD, Rubenstein AH, Speck RM, Conant EF, Scott P, Tuton L, Westring AF, Friedman S, Abbuhl SB. J Women’s Health. 2017;26(5):571–579. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Brown A, Patten E. “The narrowing but persistent gender gap in pay” Fact Tank, Pew Research Center, 2017.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Freund KM, Raj A, Kaplan SE, Terrin N, Breeze JL, Urech TH, Carr PL. “Inequities in academic compensation by gender: a follow-up to the National Faculty Survey cohort study.” Acad. Med. 2016;91(8):1068–73.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Jagsi R, Griffith KA, Stewart A, Sambuco D, DeCastro R, Ubel PA. “Gender differences in salary in a recent cohort of early career physician researchers.” Acad. Med. 2013;88(11):1689–99.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Carr PL, Raj A, Kaplan SE, Terrin N, Breeze JL, Freund KM. Recruitment, promotion, and retention of women in academic medicine: how institutions are addressing gender disparities. Women’s Health Issues. 2017 Jan 4. pii: S1049-3867(16)30339–5. [Epub ahead of print].Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Carnes M, Devine P, Isaac C, Baier Manwell L, Ford CE, Byars-Winston A, Fine E, Sheridan J. “Promoting institutional change through bias literacy.” J of Diversity in Higher Education. 212;5(2):63–77.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Carnes M, Devine PG, Manwell LB, Byars-Winston A, Fine E, Ford CE, Forscher P, Isaac C, Kaatz A, Magua W, Palta M, Sheridan J. “Effect of an intervention to break the gender bias habit for faculty at one institution: a cluster randomized, controlled trial” Acad Med. 2015;90(2):221–230.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Fine E, Sheridan J, Carnes M, Handelsman J, Pribbenow C, Savoy J, Wendt A. “Minimizing the influence of gender bias on the faculty search process.” Gender transformation in the Academy, Advances in gender research. 2014;19:267–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Wroblewski E. “Examining implicit bias and its effect on hiring and inclusiveness” CUPA-HR. The Higher Education Workplace. Spring 2015.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Phyllis L. Carr
    • 1
    Email author
  • Deborah Helitzer
    • 2
  • Karen Freund
    • 3
  • Alyssa Westring
    • 4
  • Richard McGee
    • 5
  • Patricia B. Campbell
    • 6
  • Christine V. Wood
    • 5
  • Amparo Villablanca
    • 7
  1. 1.Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Arizona College of Health SolutionsPhoenixUSA
  3. 3.Tufts University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  4. 4.Driehaus College of BusinessDePaul UniversityChicagoUSA
  5. 5.Northwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  6. 6.Campbell-Kibler Associates, Inc.GrotonUSA
  7. 7.Women’s Cardiovascular Medicine, Davis School of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

Personalised recommendations