When perception is reality: Resident perception of faculty gender parity in a university-based internal medicine residency program

Jennifer Reilly Lukela, Aditi Ramakrishnan, Nicole Hadeed, John Del Valle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Introduction: Although women have entered medical school and internal medicine residency programs in significant numbers for decades, women faculty remain underrepresented in senior and departmental leadership roles. How residents perceive this gender disparity is unknown. We sought to assess resident perception of gender parity among departmental leadership and teaching faculty in our internal medicine department, and to determine the actual gender distribution of those faculty roles. Methods: An anonymous cross-sectional survey was distributed to evaluate resident perception of gender representation of various faculty roles. Using conference schedules, resident evaluations, and our department website, we determined the actual representation of women faculty in department leadership roles, and in clinical and educational activities. Results: 88 of 164 residents (54%) responded. Women residents were less likely than men to perceive that women faculty were equally represented in department leadership (45% men agreed vs. 13% women, p < 0.05), clinical teaching roles (55% men agreed vs. 28% women, p < 0.05), or facilitating educational conferences (45% men agreed vs. 28% women, p = 0.074). In 2017, the internal medicine department at our institution comprised 815 faculty members, 473 men (58%) and 342 women (42%). At that time, women faculty held 5% of senior departmental leadership positions and 21% of educational leadership positions. During the year preceding survey distribution, women faculty attended on internal medicine inpatient wards for 33% of the total number of weeks, staffed 20% of morning reports, and facilitated 28% of noon conferences. Discussion: Women residents in our internal medicine training program perceived a gender disparity among faculty in leadership and educational positions to a greater extent than male residents. The perception of women trainees was accurate. In addition to disproportionate underrepresentation in leadership positions, women faculty were underrepresented in prominent educational positions, including attending on inpatient services and serving as discussants at educational conferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-352
Number of pages7
JournalPerspectives on Medical Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Gender disparity
  • Implicit bias
  • Medical education-graduate
  • Role model


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