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Healio Interview

Disclosures: Jain reports no relevant financial disclosures. Healio could not confirm Sagar’s relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.
February 03, 2022
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Women in Medicine launches speakers bureau to address gender disparities

Source:

Healio Interview

Disclosures: Jain reports no relevant financial disclosures. Healio could not confirm Sagar’s relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.
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The nonprofit Women in Medicine recently launched an all-women speakers bureau to increase opportunities for female experts in medicine. It is the first of its kind, according to the organization.

Since women are frequently underrepresented in medical conferences and panels, the Women in Medicine Speakers Bureau will serve as a database of female medical professionals for conference organizers, media, research labs and other organizations to access.

Shikha Jain, MD, FACP

Efforts towards developing the bureau started about 2 years ago, according to Shikha Jain, MD, FACP, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of hematology and oncology at the University of Illinois Cancer Center, host of Healio’s Oncology Overdrive podcast and a consulting medical editor for Healio's Women in Oncology. She is also the founder of Women in Medicine.

“The data are insurmountable showing women are underrepresented in leadership, speaking opportunities, collaborations, funding and are inequitably compensated,” she told Healio. “This Speakers Bureau is one way to end the idea that there are ‘no qualified women’ for a specific opportunity.”

The resource was a collaboration between Jain, Ankita Sagar, MD, MPH, FACP, the system vice president for clinical standards and variation reduction at CommonSpirit Health, and Meeting Achievements, a meeting planning and instructional design organization.

Any woman in medicine interested in joining the bureau can apply for membership on the Women in Medicine’s website; applications are then evaluated by a team at the bureau.

Speaker profiles are publicly listed on the bureau’s website and include information about their subject matter expertise, availability, languages spoken, social media and more.

“The impact of this Speakers Bureau could be HUGE,” Sagar said.

Previous research published in JAMA Network Open showed that articles written by women in academic medicine had fewer journal citations, regardless of authorship seniority, Healio reported. Also, a separate study showed that just 21% of leading medical journals had a woman as editor-in-chief.

Other data have shown that gender disparities in medicine impact patient care, patient outcomes and retention of staff, according to Jain.

“We need real tangible solutions, and this Speakers Bureau is one way to start to intentionally address these inequities,” she said. “Let's make 2022 the year we end the ‘manel’ (all male panel).”