Significance of terms like diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are discussed frequently but implementation of measures incorporating these principles remains elusive. Much of the discourse revolves around what it means to be equitable and inclusive as well as characterization of explicit, implicit, and systemic biases limiting our ability to achieve improved diversity and representation. One reason for this lies in the multi-generational experience with discrimination and bias that has led to a homogenous work force and obstacles for those with differing identities. Healthcare and academia are not immune to this. A report published in 2014 by the Association of American Colleges revealed the leaky pipeline of female trainee and faculty recruitment from the earliest stages of medicine with women representing 47% of students at US medical schools, holding 46% of the positions in residency programs and only 38% of full-time faculty appointments. Among leadership positions, women were found to hold only 21% of full professor positions, 16% of dean positions and 15% of departmental chair positions.
- Rochon Paula A.
- Frank Davidoff
- Levinson Wendy
Women in academic medicine leadership: has anything changed in 25 years?.
Acad Med. 2016; 91 (8): 1053-1056
2More specific to surgical faculty, a recent study showed differing trends in representation for male and female racial/ethnic minority faculty in the pipeline. There was favorable growth for female faculty from underrepresented races/ethnicities among early to mid-career ranks. However, this trend disappeared among leadership positions. In fact, there was no improvement in minority representation among full professors and chairs from 2013-2019.
- McMurtrie B.
How to Do a Better Job of Searching for Diversity.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2016
Date accessed: October 27, 2021
3The additive effect over time creates an insurmountable barrier for those experiencing these biases. However, strides in recognition of the problem are being made so that discriminatory practices are minimized.
- Girod S.
- Fassiotto M.
- Grewal D.
- et al.
Reducing implicit gender leadership bias in academic medicine with an educational intervention.
Acad Med. 2016; 91: 1143-1150
4The above trends highlight the impact of underlying biases and the urgency to address them among search committees. It is vital to implement efficacious strategies to minimize bias among search committee members so greater equity is brought in the decision-making process. In this paper we discuss current practices to address implicit bias, their effectiveness, alternative approaches, and suggestions for improvement when creating a search committee.
- Riner A.N.
- Herremans K.M.
- Neal D.W.
- et al.
Diversification of academic surgery, its leadership, and the importance of intersectionality.
JAMA Surg. Aug 01 2021; 156: 748-756
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Published online: May 19, 2022
Accepted: May 17, 2022
Received in revised form: May 15, 2022
Received: February 5, 2022
Published by Elsevier Inc.