Lecture – Advancing Gender Equity in Medicine

Available with English captions.

Presented by Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, American Medical Association – Women in Medicine & Science Month lecture

Recent reports show that women make up 77% of the essential workers in the field of health care. And now, more than ever, women are on the front lines of medicine. Women play an integral part in protecting the public’s health during the COVID-19 pandemic, a once-in-a-lifetime health emergency.

Despite the outsized role women play in health care, Patrice Harris, MD, MA, reports that only about one-third of active physicians are women. In addition, just half of the students currently in medical school are women. Moreover, she says, most women bear the responsibility for most health care decisions in their personal and family lives—even those who are part of two-profession homes.

But even as women continue to take on more leadership roles and responsibilities in health care, Harris states that persistent gaps remain that keep women on unequal footing compared to their male counterparts.

Watch now to learn more about:

  • Ways the American Medical Association (AMA) is supporting physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a look at burnout among health professionals
  • Some of the efforts of the AMA’s Women Physicians Section to promote gender equity in medicine
  • How achieving gender equity in medicine requires a collaborative effort on the part of institutions and individuals

Harris explores the opportunities and obstacles women face at this historic moment in medicine and highlights the steps the AMA is taking to create gender equity in medicine. She describes efforts to grow the ranks of women working in health care, improve work-life integration, and close gaps in pay.
Harris discusses initiatives to promote gender diversity and end gender-based discrimination. She also examines efforts to expand policies and standards for parents working in health care.

The pandemic, Harris reports, “laid bare the fault lines in our health care delivery system, and it laid bare the disproportionate burden and the structural factors that determine our health.” She says that everyone in the health care field must work to address bias and discrimination against women and people of color.

“It’s beyond time to just talk about these issues,” Harris says. “Now we have to make sure we are implementing solutions that we know work.”