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Assessing Gender Equity in a Large Academic Department of Pediatrics

Rotbart, Harley A. MD; McMillen, Deborah; Taussig, Heather PhD; Daniels, Stephen R. MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31823be028
Gender Issues

Purpose To determine the extent of gender inequity in a large academic pediatrics department and to demonstrate an assessment methodology other departments can use.

Method Using deidentified data, the authors evaluated all promotion track faculty in the University of Colorado School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics in 2009 by five parameters: promotion, tenure, leadership roles, faculty retention, and salary. Outcome metrics included time to promotion and at rank; awards of tenure, time to tenure, and time tenured; departmental leadership positions in 2009; attrition rates from 2000 to 2009; and salary in academic year 2008–2009 compared with national benchmarks.

Results Women constituted 54% (60/112) of assistant professors and 56% (39/70) of associate professors but only 23% (19/81) of professors. Average years to promotion at each rank and years at assistant and associate professor were identical for men and women; male professors held their rank six years longer. Only 18% (9/50) of tenured faculty were women. Men held 75% (18/24) of section head and 83% (6/7) of vice chair positions; women held 62% (13/21) of medical director positions. More women than men retired as associate professors and resigned/relocated as professors. Women's pay (98% of national median salary) was lower than men's (105% of median) across all ranks and specialties.

Conclusions These gender disparities were due in part to women's later start in academics and the resulting lag time in promotion. Differences in the awarding of tenure, assignment of leadership roles, faculty retention, and salary may also have played important roles.

Dr. Rotbart is professor and vice chair for academic affairs, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado.

Ms. McMillen was administrative assistant, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, at the time of this study.

Dr. Taussig is associate professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado.

Dr. Daniels is professor and chair, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Rotbart, Pediatric Administration, Children's Hospital Colorado, 13123 E. 16th Ave., Box B065, Aurora, CO 80045; telephone: (720) 777-7459; fax: (720) 777-7278; e-mail: Harley.rotbart@ucdenver.edu.

First published online November 18, 2011

© 2012 Association of American Medical Colleges