The Development of Best Practice Recommendations to Support the Hiring, Recruitment, and Advancement of Women Physicians in Emergency Medicine

Esther K. Choo, Dara Kass, Mary Westergaard, Susan H. Watts, Nicole Berwald, Linda Regan, Susan B. Promes, Kathleen J. Clem, Sandra M. Schneider, Gloria J. Kuhn, Stephanie Abbuhl, Flavia Nobay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Background: Women in medicine continue to experience disparities in earnings, promotion, and leadership roles. There are few guidelines in place defining organization-level factors that promote a supportive workplace environment beneficial to women in emergency medicine (EM). We assembled a working group with the goal of developing specific and feasible recommendations to support women's professional development in both community and academic EM settings. Methods: We formed a working group from the leadership of two EM women's organizations, the Academy of Women in Academic Emergency Medicine (AWAEM) and the American Association of Women Emergency Physicians (AAWEP). Through a literature search and discussion, working group members identified four domains where organizational policies and practices supportive of women were needed: 1) global approaches to supporting the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in EM; 2) recruitment, hiring, and compensation of women emergency physicians; 3) supporting development and advancement of women in EM; and 4) physician health and wellness (in the context of pregnancy, childbirth, and maternity leave). Within each of these domains, the working group created an initial set of specific recommendations. The working group then recruited a stakeholder group of EM physician leaders across the country, selecting for diversity in practice setting, geographic location, age, race, and gender. Stakeholders were asked to score and provide feedback on each of the recommendations. Specific recommendations were retained by the working group if they achieved high rates of approval from the stakeholder group for importance and perceived feasibility. Those with >80% agreement on importance and >50% agreement on feasibility were retained. Finally, recommendations were posted in an open online forum (blog) and invited public commentary. Results: An initial set of 29 potential recommendations was created by the working group. After stakeholder voting and feedback, 16 final recommendations were retained. Recommendations were refined through qualitative comments from stakeholders and blog respondents. Conclusions: Using a consensus building process that included male and female stakeholders from both academic and community EM settings, we developed recommendations for organizations to implement to create a workplace environment supportive of women in EM that were perceived as acceptable and feasible. This process may serve as a model for other medical specialties to establish clear, discrete organization-level practices aimed at supporting women physicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1203-1209
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Emergency Medicine


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