Stereotype Threat

Women make up 35 percent of all medical school faculty, but just 13% of department chairs and 13% of deans. The AAMC Reporter spoke to women leaders in academic medicine to get their take on the disparity.

One explanation, offered by Hannah Valantine of Stanford Medical School, is stereotype threat. Social psychology has shown that when minorities and women receive social cues that they are inferior in a subject, they perform less well. Something as simple as a reminder before a test that minority and female students tend to do just as well on the exam is sufficient to level the playing field.

Valantine is now exploring how to apply those lessons to faculty development. An NIH grant will allow her to develop positive triggers that she can show to a control group of women faculty in hopes of triggering their professional advancement.


One Response to “Stereotype Threat”

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