“How do we create a culture that really fixes the inequity of opportunity in leadership?”

It was one of the questions posed by keynote speaker Kathryn M. Rexrode, MD, MPH, chief of the Division of Women’s Health in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Department of Medicine and director of the BWH Office for Women’s Careers, during the 21st Annual Women in Medicine Month Celebration hosted by the MGH Office for Women’s Careers. Rexrode’s talk focused on the topic, “An Interwoven Journey: Women’s Health and Advancement of Women Faculty.”

“I never thought I would be a researcher,” Rexrode said, noting she initially thought she would become a clinician-educator, but after some early formative experiences, she found her passion ignited in research. “You find that you often are at a place in your career where you don’t yet know the narrative. One discovery leads to other paths.”

Rexrode discussed gender bias in medicine, how unconscious gender bias can affect both faculty and patients, and how women have often been underrepresented in clinical trials. “We need more women in medicine, in part to address gender-specific care and women’s health,” she said. Rexrode also shared some of the advice and lessons that helped her along her journey, including being true to one’s values, growing a network, creating allies and seizing opportunities that come one’s way.

During the Sept. 12 event, Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president, recognized 11 women newly appointed as full professors at Harvard Medical School. And Nancy Rigotti, MD, director of the MGH Office for Women’s Careers, honored the Claflin Distinguished Scholars and Jennifer Temel, MD, as the John T. Potts, Jr., MD, Faculty Mentoring Awardee – the first woman to be honored in the award’s history.

 “Gender equity is essential because we need the talent of the entire workforce, all of the intelligent minds – men and women alike – to maximize clinical and scientific advancement,” said Rexrode. “Thank you to all of those who are committed to forging a more equitable future.” 

Read more articles from the 10/05/18 Hotline issue.