According to recent data from the American College of Physicians, women comprise more than one third of the active physician workforce, an estimated 46 percent of all physicians-in-training, and more than half of all medical students in the United States. Although advancement has been made toward gender diversity in the physician workforce and in the healthcare profession at large, disparities and inequities have contributed to a disproportionately low number of female professionals serving in leadership positions.
There has also been slow progress in getting women into leadership positions in the biopharmaceutical and biotechnical industries, as chief executive officers of hospital systems or as presidents and deans of medical schools. And there remains an unsettling absence of women as scientific founders and research heads.
In the vignettes that follow, 15 PCOM alumnae disclose, in raw snippets, their professional experiences as women leaders in medicine. They share their successes and note some of the challenges that women in health care face. Many are optimistic that women entering the profession now will be the true beneficiaries of a society that values an inclusive culture.