Friday, October 8, 2010

Cracking the glass ceiling

BREAKING THE GLASS CEILING: From left, Winfred (Win) Williams, co-chair of the Multicultural Affairs Office Advisory Board; Rigotti; Anne Klibanski, MD, director of the Center for Faculty Development and chief of the Neuroendocrine Unit; Higginbotham; Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH President, Theodore Stern, MD, director of the Office for Clinical Careers

In commemoration of Women in Medicine Month, the MGH last month hosted Eve J. Higginbotham, SM, MD, senior vice president and executive dean for Health Science at Howard University, who presented "Cracking the Glass Ceiling in Academic Medicine," Sept. 20 in the Thier Conference Room. Higginbotham reviewed the current state of women in academic medicine and explored strategies to change the demographics of medicine and science. More than 50 faculty members attended the event.

"We were delighted that Dean Higginbotham helped MGH celebrate and recognize the increasing number and career progress of our own female physicians," says Nancy Rigotti, MD, director of the Office for Women's Careers. "In sharing her own experiences breaking barriers in her career, she was an inspiring example of what is possible, and she shared her insight and strategies for other women to succeed in academic medicine."

Higginbotham noted that more women are entering the medical field than ever before -- but once a woman attains her initial faculty rank, her advancement up the ladder is slower than a man's progression. Higginbotham suggested that this may be due to an environment where women may feel discouraged from pursuing leadership roles. She asked both women and men in the audience to help change this perception by encouraging women to pursue positions that educate future medical professionals, such as deans of medical schools, presidents of teaching hospitals and other leadership roles.

Higginbotham also encouraged diversity in these positions to promote a more positive and multifaceted environment and to display to all aspiring physicians that every position can be achievable for every individual. She ended the presentation stating, "Collectively we can crack the glass ceiling."

For more information about the event, contact

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