When administrators at the University of Zurich sought a guest speaker to discuss promoting women in faculty roles in medicine, they tapped a UC Davis Health leader who has become a prominent voice on the subject.
Colleen E. Clancy, associate vice chancellor for academic personnel and a professor in the Department of Pharmacology, traveled to Switzerland in mid-September to deliver a talk titled, “Advancing women and other underrepresented groups in medicine: Lessons and successes at the University of California.”
While female faculty are outnumbered by male faculty in medical schools across the United States, Clancy highlighted the successes of UC Davis School of Medicine, which is known for hiring and promoting women and people of color.
“It’s something we should be really, really, proud of,” Clancy said, adding that female faculty members in health sciences at UC Davis Health are evenly distributed among assistant, associate and full professor ranks.
Women comprise more than 40 percent of the full-time UC Davis Health faculty. Nationwide, women make up about 38 percent of full-time academic medicine faculty, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
In Switzerland, fewer than 10 percent of full time academic medicine professors are women.
Clancy, who served as chair of a UC System-wide Committee on Affirmative Action and Diversity, told the gathered faculty in Zurich of the various efforts to hire and promote women at the UC Davis School of Medicine, including:
- Keeping diversity and inclusion a campus-wide priority
- Faculty development programs
- An emphasis on equity over equality
- The Women in Medicine and Health Sciences program
- Access to training opportunities through the Association of American Medical Colleges
- A successful mentoring academy
- The value of flexibility, which allows men and women faculty to adjust their appointments to part-time when necessary
- Intensive training for search committee members
Clancy encouraged women faculty members in Zurich to celebrate small and realistic goals.
“One of the things I said multiple times is you really have to be solution-minded,” Clancy said. “Structural and cultural barriers are difficult to overcome, but think about where the solutions are. Do the small things. They will add up.”