The statistics are revealing:
- Of 130,000 medical faculty in the U.S. only 1/3 are women
- 4% are Hispanic
- 8% of clinical department chairpersons are women
Linda Pololi, a former professor of medicine and now senior scientist at Brandeis’s Women’s Studies Research Center, conducted interviews with women and minority faculty to find out why academic medicine has not been hospitable to them. She summarized her findings in a recent article from the Chronicle for Higher Education.
Her subjects described a system at odds with the altruistic values that motivated them to pursue academic medicine. They found the work environments competitive, individualistic, and profit-driven. Moreover, women and minority faculty members suffered from unconscious bias.
Faced with such a structural problem, Pololi discourages separate diversity initiatives. Rather, she calls for a change in culture that values all members’ contributions.