Objectives: Despite the influx of female physicians in academic medicine departments, there are a small number of women in faculty and departmental leadership positions in emergency medicine (EM). The objective of this study was to determine if the gender of the chairperson of an academic EM department is associated with the gender of the residency program director (RPD) and gender proportion of its faculty.
Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of 133 academic EM departments using the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine online residency catalog, program Web site, or e-mail. Main outcome measures were proportion of female EM faculty and gender of the RPD.
Results: Data were available for 133 academic departments. Women chaired 7.5% (n= 10) of departments and comprised 22.3% of all faculty and 15.0% (n= 20) of RPD positions. EM departments that were chaired by women had a significantly higher percentage of female faculty compared with those led by men (31% vs. 22%; p = 0.01). Similarly, departments that were chaired by women had a significantly higher proportion of female RPDs compared with those chaired by men (50% vs. 12%; p < 0.01). Compared with departments chaired by men, the RPD was 5.0 times (95% confidence interval = 1.9 to 27.8; p < 0.01) more likely to be a woman if the chairperson was also a woman.
Conclusions: An academic EM department was more likely to have a higher proportion of female faculty and a female RPD when the department chairperson was female.