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Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Feb;125(2):471-6. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000628.

Subspecialty and gender of obstetrics and gynecology faculty in department-based leadership roles.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.



To characterize the cohort who may become senior leaders in obstetrics and gynecology by examining the gender and subspecialty of faculty in academic department administrative and educational leadership roles.


This is an observational study conducted through web sites of U.S. obstetrics and gynecology residency programs accredited in 2012-2013.


In obstetrics and gynecology departmental administrative leadership roles, women comprised 20.4% of chairs, 36.1% of vice chairs, and 29.6% of division directors. Among educational leaders, women comprised 31.9% of fellowship directors, 47.3% of residency directors, and 66.1% of medical student clerkship directors. Chairs were most likely to be maternal-fetal medicine faculty (38.2%) followed by specialists in general obstetrics and gynecology (21.8%), reproductive endocrinologists (15.6%), and gynecologic oncologists (14.7%). Among chairs, 32.9% are male maternal-fetal medicine specialists. Family planning had the highest representation of women (80.0%) among division directors, whereas reproductive endocrinology and infertility had the lowest (15.8%). The largest proportion of women chairs, vice chairs, residency program directors, and medical student clerkship directors were specialists in general obstetrics and gynecology.


Women remained underrepresented in the departmental leadership roles of chair, vice chair, division director, and fellowship director. Representation of women was closer to parity among residency program directors, in which women held just under half of positions. Nearly one in three department chairs was a male maternal-fetal medicine specialist. Compared with subspecialist leaders, specialist leaders in general obstetrics and gynecology were more likely to be women.

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