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In order to identify the concerns and possible barriers for women considering careers in academic medicine, in 1990 the authors surveyed both men and women medical students, housestaff, postdoctoral students, and junior faculty at The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). The authors achieved a 58% response rate from students and faculty, a 21% response rate from postdoctoral students, and a 15% response rate from housestaff. Results indicated that women at all levels were less interested in academic careers than were their male colleagues. Concerns about balancing family responsibilities, clinical practice, and teaching in addition to the research required of an academic career were mentioned most frequently. Women, especially those among the housestaff and junior faculty, reported fewer mentor relationships and role models. The authors discuss these findings in relation to other studies and describe what they are doing to foster women's interest and success in academic medicine at UCSF.