The drivers of the gap in advancement between men and women faculty in academic Infectious Diseases (ID) remain poorly understood. This study sought to identify key barriers to academic advancement among faculty in ID and offer policy suggestions to narrow this gap.
During the 2019 IDWeek, we conducted focus groups with women faculty members at all ranks and men Full Professors, then we administered a brief survey regarding work-related barriers to advancement to the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) membership. We report themes from the 4 focus group discussions that are most closely linked to policy changes and descriptive analyses of the complementary survey domains.
Policy change suggestions fell into 3 major categories: (1) Policy changes for IDSA to implement; (2) Future IDWeek Program Recommendations; and (3) Policy Changes for IDSA to Endorse as Best Practices for ID Divisions. Among 790 faculty respondents, fewer women reported that their institutional promotion process was transparent and women Full Professors were significantly more likely to have been sponsored.
Sponsorship and informed advising about institutional promotions tracks may help to narrow the advancement gap. The Infectious Disease Society of America should consider ambitious policy changes within the society and setting expectations for best practices among ID divisions across the United States.
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