Pragmatic Solutions to Counteract the Regressive Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Women in Academic Oncology | Health Care Workforce | JAMA Oncology | JAMA Network
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February 11, 2021

Pragmatic Solutions to Counteract the Regressive Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Women in Academic Oncology

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco
  • 2Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
JAMA Oncol. Published online February 11, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.7681

Women in academic medicine are playing an outsized role in responding to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), as frontline health care workers, extraprofessional caregivers, researchers, and community mobilizers. At the same time, the imbalanced gender distribution of necessary service tasks places women in academic medicine at risk for an amplification of preexisting disparities in career experiences and outcomes. These issues are particularly relevant in academic oncology where gender imbalance already prevails. Across 265 academic programs in the US, women currently comprise 37% of faculty positions in academic medical oncology but hold only 21% of leadership positions. In academic radiation oncology, women comprise only 31% of faculty positions and 12% of leadership positions.1 If not adequately addressed, the effect of COVID-19 is likely to widen these gaps and may compromise the quality of clinical care and research outputs that academic oncologists provide to the public.

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