Julie K. Silver, MD, Director of the Harvard Medical School CME course “Career Advancement and Leadership Skills for Women in Healthcare”, discusses the
Be Ethical Campaign, which was officially launched with the start of the court on November 15.
PW: Why is there a need for the Be Ethical Campaign?
JS: The healthcare workforce is predominately female. With so many highly educated and qualified women, medicine should be leading the way in gender equity, but it isn’t. A study of more than 10,000 physician faculty at U.S. public medical schools found that women were paid less, even after accounting for age, experience, specialty, faculty rank, research productivity, and clinical revenue. More than 2 decades of research show macro-level disparities for women in medicine that affect pay, promotion, research funding, and more. Micro-level disparities are also pervasive and even normalized. “Subtle sexism” supports an entrenched culture of workforce gender discrimination.
PW: What are the major goals of the campaign?
JS: We want to mobilize top-level medical leaders at institutions (eg, medical schools, hospitals), societies, journals, and funding bodies to tackle workforce disparities using scientific methodology, a comprehensive set of metrics and longitudinal data analysis. Efforts until now have been underfunded, poorly supported, and subjective. The campaign’s success hinges on the dissemination of our white paper calling leaders to action and providing an easy, six-step process with lists of metrics for measuring their organizations’ current status and progress. We hope leaders will recognize that ethical leadership means tackling inequities by using data and science.
PW: How can our readers get involved?
JS: Download the white paper at SheLeadsHealthcare.com. Share it with leaders, colleagues, and students via social media and email. Discuss it at meetings and in presentations. Include it in organization guidelines and policy reports. We hope every medical school, hospital, professional society, journal, and healthcare-related business will use it as a reference in their agenda-setting and future publications. Medical educators should use it as a tool to inform trainees about the research and best practices for equity, diversity, and inclusion. To keep the conversation going, those on social media can use the hashtag #BeEthical. Conference and event organizers can order #BeEthical gear (SWAG) at beethicalstore.org to help support gender equity research and raise awareness that ending workforce disparities is an ethical imperative.