Diversity Now

DEI Newsletter

Sara B. Fazio, MD, MACP Dear AAIM Members,
Happy August! As the summer winds down, we will celebrate Women’s Equality Day on August 26. In 1973, Congress designated this date to commemorate the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. As we reflect on the progress that women have made in the past fifty years, it allows us an opportunity to celebrate the diverse accomplishments of all women, particularly in academic medicine, but also to recognize that there is much work to be done. 
In 2008 for the first time, more women than men entered medical school, but the number of women in high-level positions is still low. According to AAMC, women held 16% of permanent deanships at fully accredited medical schools in 2018, 18% of dept chairs and 25% of full professors. Unfortunately, the numbers are substantially lower for women of color. Female physicians make an average of $20K less than male physicians after adjustment for rank, years since residency, specialty, and research funding.
The AAIM Women’s Leadership Forum began as a conversation among Bergitta Cotroneo, Polly Parsons, MD, Wendy Levinson, MD, and myself at the APM Winter Meeting in 2014. We discussed how wonderful it would be to share even some of the energy that was evident during that meeting, and also some of the struggles, which are common to women at every stage of leadership in across all of our constituent organizations. The first forum took place in 2015, and was a huge success. This spring we are delighted to be offering the ninth annual Women’s Leadership Forum at Academic Internal Medicine Week. In addition to skill-building, the importance of forming networks and a community is a key element behind its success. 
It is by coming together that we can call for transparency and accountability. We can help amplify other women and provide opportunities for collaboration and career advancement, and we can learn valuable skills from one another. 
As a former CDIM President and former AAIM Board of Directors Chair, not only did I find my professional home in AAIM, but it was a launching point for my role as a leader in academic medicine. Co-chairing the Women’s Leadership Forum with AAIM Deputy Chief Executive Officer and EVP Bergitta Cotroneo has been a true highlight of my AAIM experience. I have been honored to work with an incredible and collaborative group of volunteer female leaders and AAIM staff members each year to highlight issues unique to women in academic medicine. 
Out of the Forum came Alliance Women LEAD (Leadership Empowerment Advancement and Development), an online community featuring discussions about gender-related issues in academic medicine as well as opportunities for reflection and collaboration. I am grateful for AAIM’s leadership, staff, and members for supporting these efforts and look forward to having many of you participate in them.
Sara B. Fazio, MD, MACP
Former CDIM President, Former AAIM Board Chair
Advisory Dean, Curriculum Chair
Harvard Medical School Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

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