Females are under-represented as departmental chairs in academic medical centers and identifying ways to increase their numbers in this position would be useful. A previous study of women chairs of pathology showed that 35% of permanent chairs had previously been interim chairs, suggesting that the interim position was a common pathway for women to advance to a permanent chair position. We sought to determine whether it might also be true for males and if not, possible reasons for the difference. Between January 2016 and June 2022, the Association of Pathology Chairs identified 50 people who had served as interim pathology department chairs. Males served as interim chairs more often than females (66% vs 34%), but, within this time frame, female interim chairs were more likely to become permanent chairs than males (47% of females compared to 27% of males). To better understand the difference in the rate of advancement from interim to permanent chair, we surveyed the 50 individuals who had served as interim chairs to explore gender differences in backgrounds, reasons for serving as interim chairs and reasons for seeking or not seeking the permanent chair position. No significant gender differences were found except that male interim chairs were older (59.2 years) than female interim chairs (50.4 years). This study affirms that serving as an interim chair is a common pathway for females to become permanent chairs, while it is less so for males, although the reasons for this difference could not be determined.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine