Each September, the Women Physicians Section of the American Medical Association celebrates Women in Medicine Month to honor physicians who have offered their time, wisdom and support to advance the careers of women in medicine.
“It is important to recognize the vital — and growing — role that women physicians play at the Miller School of Medicine,” said Henri R. Ford, M.D., MHA, dean and chief academic officer. “Women comprise 37 percent of our faculty but 58 percent of our current first-year class. That demonstrates the tremendous opportunities that are bringing increasing numbers of women into the medical field. Six of our departmental chairs are women, and women hold numerous positions as deans, program and center directors, division chiefs and other high-ranking roles of responsibility and achievement. We must support their efforts and provide pathways for career growth.”
That support is on the rise at the Miller School, according to Rose Maria Van Zuilen, Ph.D., associate professor of professional practice in the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, and the current president of Women in Academic Medicine (WIAM), an organization formed in 2008 to transform the development, recruitment, and retention of women faculty at the Miller School through education, networking, and mentoring.
“This year we received funding from the Dean to send two women faculty to the early-career and one to the mid-career leadership development programs offered by the Association of American Medical Colleges, and we had many applicants for those spots,” said Dr. Van Zuilen. “The key is to increase the financial support for our programs so we can offer more. We have growing awareness and interest in our activities among our female faculty, so we are planning some independent fund-raising initiatives.”
Dr. Van Zuilen says that other Miller School efforts, such as the new faculty compensation plan and renewed focus on gender salary equity, demonstrate a commitment to attracting and retaining top female talent.
“These challenges are not unique to the Miller School,” said Holly Neville, M.D., professor of clinical surgery and WIAM’s vice president. “In many ways, we’re on a par with our peer institutions, but our goal is to be exemplary. WIAM is a support organization for the faculty at the Miller School. In order to get to the next step, we would like an official seat at the table.”
Upcoming activities include a guest lecture, “Achieving Work Productivity and Happiness in Academic Medicine,” on October 4, a speed mentoring event in early 2019 and a program honoring Women’s History Month next March. For more information about WIAM, contact Dr. Van Zuilen at email@example.com.