The differences between men and women seem to infiltrate yet another aspect of medicine with a study spearheaded at Women & Infants Hospital, a Care New England hospital, indicating that younger female gynecologic oncologists were less productive scholastically and, therefore, poorly represented in the higher academic ranks, than their male contemporaries.
The study – entitled "Gender Differences in Scholarly Productivity within Academic Gynecologic Oncology Departments" – was recently published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, the journal of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
"For a variety of reasons, including childbearing and family responsibilities, female gynecologic oncologists at the assistant professor level had lower scholarly productivity than men; however, at higher academic ranks, they equaled their male counterparts," explains Ashley Stuckey, MD, one of the study's authors and a gynecologic oncologist with Women & Infants' Program in Women's Oncology. "Women were more junior in rank, had published for fewer years, and were underrepresented in leadership positions."
The study culled the publications of 507 academic faculty from 137 teaching programs in the United States. Of these, 42 percent were female and 58 percent male. Examining the number of publications and the number of times the publications were cited, the researchers found that men were twice as productive in the lower academic ranks. Men and women were more equally productive at the higher rank of professor, with women often more productive later in their careers.
"This is true for women in all surgical disciplines," Dr. Stuckey explains. "The reasons include the lack of female role models for younger physicians, lack of mentoring, sexism in medicine and publishing, and the issue of work-life balance."
Such lower scholarly productivity, the study indicates, correlates with the disparate numbers of women in advanced academic positions. In gynecologic oncology, only 20.4 percent of department chairs and 29.6 percent of division directors nationwide are female, even though 57.6 percent of faculty was male and 42.4 percent female.
In addition to Dr. Stuckey, the following Women & Infants staff and fellows co-authored the study: Emily Hill, MD; Christina Raker, ScD; and Katina Robison, MD.
Women interested in making an appointment with any of the providers with the Program in Women's Oncology at Women & Infants can call (401) 453-7520.
About Women & Infants Hospital
Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, is one of the nation's leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns. A major teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics, as well as a number of specialized programs in women's medicine, Women & Infants is the 11th largest stand-alone obstetrical service in the country with approximately 8,400 deliveries per year. A Baby-Friendly® USA hospital, U.S.News & World Report 2014-15 Best Children's Hospital in Neonatology and a 2014 Leapfrog Top Hospital, in 2009 Women & Infants opened what was at the time the country's largest, single-family room neonatal intensive care unit.
Women & Infants and Brown offer fellowship programs in gynecologic oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery, neonatal-perinatal medicine, pediatric and perinatal pathology, gynecologic pathology and cytopathology, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. It is home to the nation's only mother-baby perinatal psychiatric partial hospital, as well as the nation's only fellowship program in obstetric medicine.
Women & Infants has been designated as a Breast Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiography; a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology; a Center for In Vitro Maturation Excellence by SAGE In Vitro Fertilization; a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and a Neonatal Resource Services Center of Excellence. It is one of the largest and most prestigious research facilities in high risk and normal obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics in the nation, and is a member of the National Cancer Institute's Gynecologic Oncology Group and the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network.