Virtual negotiation program for women physicians receives AMA grant
The AMA Foundation, on behalf of the AMA Women Physicians Section, awarded a grant to a project focused on the creation and assessment of a virtual negotiation workshop for women physicians.
Anees B. Chagpar, MD, MSc, MPH, MA, MBA, FRCS(C), FACS, a member of the Peer Perspective Board for Healio’s Women in Oncology, was one of two recipients of the Joan F. Giambalvo Fund for the Advancement of Women Award, which she will use to develop online courses addressing discrepancies in pay, position and perks between men and women in medicine, particularly in the surgical field.
“I’ve been leading negotiation workshops at the American Association of Medical Colleges Mid-Career Women in Medicine Seminar for the last 5 years — then the pandemic struck,” Chagpar, professor of surgery at Yale University, told Healio. “The way I run these workshops is really interactive, so I wondered whether it was possible to create a virtual negotiation platform that would recapitulate the interaction simulations that we run during the live workshops.”
The virtual workshop will include two courses held via Zoom: one designed for practicing physicians and faculty and one for trainees who are further into their residency or fellowship and will be negotiating their first jobs soon.
Chagpar said that although she figured this would be a popular opportunity because many physicians and trainees are unable to attend live workshops even outside of the pandemic due to travel or cost, she didn’t realize how popular it would be.
“Each course that I’m developing as part of this award has a maximum capacity of 100 people,” she said. “After we received the award and I put out a call for interest, we had around 3,500 applicants in less than a week.”
Because this award is for advancement of women in medicine, Chagpar thought the virtual workshop would be a good mechanism to explore the discrepancies seen in a “leaky pipeline” for higher promotions, as well as the disproportion of pay, number of publications and grant funding between men and women, she said.
“Part of this workshop is geared toward engendering confidence in asking and initiating negotiations,” she said. “The second is focused on understanding the mechanics of negotiation. How much should you ask for? Why should you ask for it? It’s clear that women tend to negotiate very well when they negotiate for others, but not so well when they negotiate for themselves.”
Chagpar clarified that the workshops do not simply provide information that could be found in a book or through an online course, but rather are a safe space to practice and try out the skills discussed. Additionally, she hopes to gather objective data on the impact of these workshops.
“We know that this training is of interest, but we have to make an impact. Do women who go through this course initiate these kinds of negotiations? Are they successful, or more successful than they otherwise would have been?” she said. “Hopefully we’ll get some hard data from this and be able to publish those results so that, if this is as successful as I hypothesize, we can start to narrow the discrepancies between women and their male counterparts regarding pay and perks. I think that would give merit to fostering more of these types of workshops.”