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Recruitment Strategy Can Boost Ranks of Female Surgeons

Five-step process can help hire and retain more women faculty

MONDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Female surgeons account for only 16 percent of university medical faculty nationwide, but improvements to the recruitment strategy can help U.S. medical schools hire and retain more female surgeons, according to a report in the June issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Melinda J. Morton, and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, write that there were only seven female chairs of surgery nationally in 2005, a mere 2 percent of the total. They describe the measures taken by the University of Pennsylvania to tackle the problem, and make five suggestions to other institutions wanting to redress the gender imbalance in surgery faculty.

The authors outline five suggestions for boosting and recruitment of female surgical faculty, namely establishing a formal committee to address the issue of poor recruitment and retention of women faculty; review the current policies and recruitment process; establish rigorous yet flexible school-wide policies; implement the policies; and monitor progress.

"Facilitating an environment that is supportive of women and conducive to professional growth and job satisfaction is essential in recruiting and retaining talented women faculty," Morton and colleagues write. "Indeed, the factors enhancing faculty retention might prove to be an even more critical component of a paradigm to promote women's leadership in academic medicine."

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