Making the Voices of Female Trainees Heard

Darilyn Moyer, MD

From the American College of Physicians, Annals of Internal Medicine

Recently, we were surprised to uncover an unrecognized gender disparity in our own presumably forward-thinking residency program. Women account for 47% of our internal medicine residency class (similar to the national average) and more than 50% of program leadership. Our graduates frequently pursue academic careers and publish widely in the lay and scientific literature during training. This tradition of publishing spurred a practice of informal e-mail “shout-outs” from the residency program director for recent publications. For example, one such e-mail read, “See [X]’s important editorial, attached. Congratulations!” These announcements celebrating residents’ publishing successes were sent in an ad hoc fashion. If the program director became aware of a publication, a congratulatory e-mail was sent to the entire residency, core faculty, and interested alumni.

The disparities in these e-mails struck 1 of the authors (L.S.R.). Although she knew her female colleagues were publishing, including in widely read popular outlets and prestigious journals, their names were rarely mentioned. In addition, their work was not being discussed in informal daily conversations among residents. With some digging, we found that these disparities had long been the subject of private discussions among female residents seeking to strategize how to elevate their female peers’ work or encouraging each other despite their work’s perceived invisibility.

You can read the full report and see the original article here