Early-career female faculty, both physician scientists and basic researchers, have disproportionately experienced negative professional, financial, and personal consequences associated with the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This career phase represents a critical time for establishing a network of mentors and collaborators, demonstrating professional independence, and balancing new teaching, research, and service duties while simultaneously navigating personal and familial responsibilities. Persistent gender inequality perpetuated by adherence to traditional gender roles place early-career women faculty at a further disadvantage. Women in academic medicine and research do not attain promotion, leadership positions, and other established markers of success at the same rate as their male counterparts. This disparity was the impetus for the creation of a Recruitment and Retention action group within the Center for Women in Medicine and Science (CWIMS) at the University of Minnesota Medical School (UMN). This perspective piece is written from the viewpoint of a group of female-identifying early-career faculty participating in a career development program for early-stage and newly appointed faculty at UMN, sponsored by the Recruitment and Retention CWIMS action group and our Office of Faculty Affairs. We describe areas of stress exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic: work, financial, and work-life well-being, and propose an adapted diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) model to guide the response to future challenges within a faculty competency framework. We offer recommendations based on the DEI-competency framework, including opportunities for lasting positive change that can emerge from this challenging moment of our collective history.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We have no possible, perceived, or real financial conflicts of interest or partnership with commercial interests. This work was supported by the Center for Women in Medicine and Science (CWIMS) who is funded by the University of Minnesota Medical School Dean’s Office and Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
- Academic medicine
- Early stage female faculty
- Equity and inclusion
- Gender equity