Viewpoint: Medical schools need term limits to promote diversity

Academic medicine should follow the lead of the National Institutes of Health and implement term limits to open up leadership positions for women and minorities, write three female physician researchers in a commentary for The New England Journal of Medicine

The NIH announced in May it would implement a 12-year term limit in its research labs, where less than a quarter of senior investigators are currently women and/or minorities. 

Academic medicine faces a similar issue, the authors write in NEJM. Only 18 percent of U.S. medical school deans are female and only 12 percent are minorities. Of the clinical department chairs who have served more than 12 years, just 7.3 percent are women, and 9.5 percent are not white or Asian, according to the authors. The longest term was 43 years.  

"What results is a leadership model in which one person’s perspective holds disproportionate sway, sometimes for decades," the authors wrote. 

While many factors may contribute to what the authors call a "leaky pipeline" of diverse leaders, part of the issue is that the positions are locked down for decades. The authors call for a term limit policy, similar to NIH's, to help promote greater diversity in academic medicine.  

"Without a major policy shift to accelerate the rate of diversification, academic medicine won’t reach gender parity for another 50 years, when even the youngest members of our profession — today’s medical students — will be well past retirement age," the researchers write. 

Read the full commentary here


More articles on physicians and integration issues:

UC Davis to design 1st gun violence prevention training for physicians
Wayne State sends termination notices to 110 physicians
CMS feedback on MIPS performance isn't helpful, medical groups say

Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars