Welcome to the 500 Women in Medicine Learning Center! This Learning Center is meant to be a curated, centralized collection of links to content and resources (ie. research papers, organizational reports, news articles, books, institutional websites, etc) on a variety of topics relevant to women in medicine. Every month we hope to highlight a different topic pertinent to women in medicine and include a handful of resources for learning more about that topic. Follow 500WIM on Twitter (@500WIM) to stay up to date with our latest updates.

July’s theme -- Women Physicians: The Current State of Affairs

To kick off the creation of the 500 WIM Learning Center, this month’s theme is focused on exploring the current state of affairs regarding the inequalities that women physicians face within the field of medicine.

Robyn Klein’s Research:

This research article is arguably what ignited the fire that spurred the creation of 500 Women in Medicine. It all began when Dr. Robyn Klein, Professor of Medicine, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Pathology & Immunology at Washington University in St. Louis, the home institution of five of the 500WIM co-founders, was invited to an international neuroimmunology conference that featured 85 male and only 13 female speakers. Dr. Klein pointed out this appalling discrepancy to the conference organizers to which they replied that there weren’t enough qualified, accomplished female neuroscientists to invite. Dr. Klein turned their statement into a hypothesis that she tested in her research paper. Dr. Klein’s work shows the importance of professional networks for the professional visibility of women physicians. The co-founders of what is now 500WIM approached the 500 Women Scientists leadership team with the idea to create a satellite organization—500 Women in Medicine— in order to more intentionally incorporate women in medicine into their impactful platform and already existing community of women in science. 

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Achieving Gender Equity in Physician Compensation and Career Advancement

This infographic put together by the American College of Physicians highlights gender inequalities at different levels of medical training. It also contains statistics about how compensation, gender bias, sexual harassment, and parenthood affects women and male physicians differently.

The State of Women in Academic Medicine: The Pipeline and Pathways to Leadership, 2015-2016

This report was created by the Association of American Medical Colleges in 2015 with data that provides insights into the state of women in academic medicine, including the distribution of full-time faculty, department chairs, deans, and promotions by gender, race/ethnicity, rank, and tenure.

Sympathy and Science

First published in 1985, Sympathy and Science, is arguably the most comprehensive study of the history of US American Women in Medicine. It traces the participation of women in the medical profession from the colonial period to the end of the 20th century. Author, Regina Morantz-Sanchez, examines women's roles as nurses, midwives, and practitioners of folk medicine in early US society, then recounts their struggles to enter medical schools and start their own institutions in the 19th century, and finally, follows female physicians into the twentieth century, exploring their efforts to achieve successful professional lives while still fulfilling the traditional demands and privileges of womanhood.

Medicine: A Career Conflict for Women

Published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 2006, authors Notman and Nelson explore the issues involved in women's decisions to pursue a medical career. They make note that women medical students often have few acceptable role models available to demonstrate the variety of possible life and family patterns. In addition, they explain how women medical students must cope with the anxiety of medical school while defining their identity as women in a "man’s world." They describe some of the different responses to these challenges that women take, which they relate to differences in individual characterological and defensive styles. The authors finish by recommending several approaches to facilitating the participation of more women in medicine.

Career obstacles for women in medicine: an overview

This research article from the Department of Psychosocial Medicine at University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland, was published in 2008 in the Journal of Medical Education.  Reed and Buddeberg-Fischer gathered material using a MEDLINE search for recent articles on women’s career progress in medicine and data from the Association of American Medical Colleges. They found that although women now make up a large proportion of the medical student body in industrialized nations, they are still under‐represented in a number of disciplines and in the higher echelons of medicine. They identified a number of possible obstacles  to women’s career goals: domestic responsibilities, rigidity in career structures, and discrimination. Furthermore, they discuss how these barriers could even be acting synergistically to disadvantage women throughout their medical career. They conclude that medical schools and other institutions are taking the issue seriously based on the variety of government and institution‐based initiatives directed at improving the role of women in medicine. Their suggestion is that medical organizations look to the business world for ‘best practices’ aimed at advancing women and then incorporate these at their home institution.

Women Physicians in Academic Medicine— New Insights From Cohort Studies

This New England Journal of Medicine study from 2000 investigated the likelihood of male and female medical school graduates to pursue full-time careers in academic medicine and advance to senior faculty ranks. They investigated the outcomes of medical school graduates between 1979 and 1993. They found that women were significantly more likely than men to pursue an academic career during the study period. However, the numbers of women who advanced to the ranks of associate and full professor were significantly lower than expected.

Women in Medicine— Is there a problem? A literature review of the changing gender composition, structures, and occupational cultures in medicine

This literature review from the Medical Education Unit at the University of Leeds was published in the journal of Medical Education in 2006. The goal of Kilminster’s study was to better understand the broad reaching effects of shifting gender demographics amongst physicians over time. They discuss current literature findings related to gender differences (or lack thereof) across the domains of  career motivations, academic performance, clinical skills, communication skills, and patient perceptions. 


Disclaimer: 

The purpose of the 500 Women in Medicine Learning Center is to have a centralized collection of information and resources that *we* think are relevant to women in medicine. 500 WIM is aware of the Learning Center’s limitations and in no way pretends that this is a comprehensive list. Instead, we hope the Learning Center provides users with a small, manageable sampler to start learning about some of the issues that women in medicine may face, as well as present some useful resources. 

The works linked in the Learning Center are NOT our own, they are the property of a variety of other authors and organizations that are in no way affiliated to 500WIM. The works included in the Learning Center were selected based on recommendations from our mentors, colleagues, social media followers, and our own discovery. Furthermore, the views and opinions expressed in the collection of links do not necessarily reflect the position of 500 Women in Medicine or 500 Women Scientists. 500 WIM should not be affiliated with any of the included authors or organizations displayed in the Learning Center. Inclusion of links does not imply the endorsement or support by 500 WIM, nor does 500 WIM endorse or recommend any particular products, company, treatments, or services. 500WIM cannot control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of the information contained in a linked website. 

Photo by Vincentiu Solomon on Unsplash