Enhancing Diversity in Academic Medicine through Faculty Networks Faculty of color (underrepresented minority [URM], Blacks, Hispanics, American Indian, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiian) and women remain severely underrepresented among medical school faculty, both in absolute numbers and in the specific positions they occupy, particularly in the higher ranks. Through systems of mutual reciprocity, the limited number of URM faculty negatively impacts minority student access to minority researchers, mentors and role models who can serve as examples of individuals who have persisted and been successful in their pursuit of scholarship and excellence. Lack of diversity among students, including inadequate representation of URM students pursuing research and academic careers, negatively impacts expanding the pool of future minority faculty. The overarching goal of the proposed study is to better understand faculty intraorganizational career networks, representing the ways in which faculty are connected to one another within an organization - how these networks are formed and change over time, the functions they serve, how they are utilized and their relationships to faculty productivity, advancement and retention in academic medicine. Inherent in this work is an assumption that faculty career networks are composed of multiple separate and potentially overlapping networks such as developmental (mentor) networks, research teams, co-investigator networks, collaborators, coauthor networks, support networks, etc. These combine to provide an environment of support and inclusion where isolation and stress are decreased and where faculty vitality and potential for success are improved.
The specific aims for the study include:
Aim 1 : To characterize patterns and rates of change over a five-year period of intraorganizational coauthor networks for faculty at a research-intense academic medical center;
Aim 2 : To describe the compositional and functional components of faculty career networks among junior faculty in three departments of medicine, and to explore how faculty build career networks including the contribution of intraorganizational coauthor connections within these networks;
Aim 3 : To identify individual and organizational determinants of career network formation, intraorganizational coauthor network size, and patterns of change in intraorganizational coauthor networks over five years for faculty in three departments of medicine. Underlying to the study's transformative mixed- methods approach is the intention to use the knowledge generated to inform policies and programs that produce positive career outcomes for faculty and students, particularly for URM and women faculty. This study will inform the design and implementation interventions that incorporate enhancing connections as vehicles to support faculty career progression within research-intense academic medical centers. Findings also have implications for diversity programming in other academic and research-centered educational settings where histories of isolation, marginalization and bias are reported to occur.

Public Health Relevance

The current lack of diversity in the biomedical research workforce profoundly affects the socio-economic well- being and competiveness of the US. This study will inform the design and implementation of interventions that incorporate enhancing connections as vehicles to support faculty career progression within research-intense academic medical centers.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1)
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Sesma, Michael A
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Harvard Medical School
Schools of Medicine
United States
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