Perceptions of Skill Development of Participants in Three National Career Development Programs for Women Faculty in Academic Medicine

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Abstract

Purpose

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and Drexel University College of Medicine have designed and implemented national career development programs (CDPs) to help women faculty acquire and strengthen skills needed for success in academic medicine. The authors hypothesized that skills women acquired in CDPs would vary by career stage and program attended.

Method

In 2011, the authors surveyed a national cohort of 2,779 women listed in the AAMC Faculty Roster who also attended one of three CDPs (Early- and Mid-Career Women in Medicine Seminars, and/or Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine) between 1988 and 2010 to examine their characteristics and CDP experiences. Participants indicated from a list of 16 skills whether each skill was newly acquired, improved, or not improved as a result of their program participation.

Results

Of 2,537 eligible CDP women, 942 clicked on the link in an invitation e-mail, and 879 (93%) completed the survey. Respondents were representative of women faculty in academic medicine. Participants rated the CDPs highly. Almost all reported gaining and/or improving skills from the CDP. Four skills predominated across all three programs: interpersonal skills, leadership, negotiation, and networking. The skills that attendees endorsed differed by respondents’ career stages, more so than by program attended.

Conclusions

Women participants perceived varying skills gained or improved from their attendance at the CDPs. Determining ways in which CDPs can support women’s advancement in academic medicine requires a deeper understanding of what participants seek from CDPs and how they use program content to advance their careers.

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