November 22, 2019

Dean's Message: Gender equity compensation review

Written by

A few years ago, I was approached about having the School of Medicine complete a gender equity review to ensure that all of our faculty members are being paid fairly regardless of their gender. I agreed with the suggestion and have been an enthusiastic supporter of this endeavor since that time. I believe it is paramount to our academic medical center’s success to offer equitable pay and an inclusive environment. To be completely transparent, though, this process has not proceeded at the rate at which I would have liked due to some administrative setbacks. However, we are now moving forward with a clear timeline for collecting data, reviewing that data, and utilizing the results to make tangible changes.

There is ample national evidence that women in medicine and science have been paid less than their male peers for doing similar jobs with similar qualifications, often driven by unconscious (and sometimes intentional) bias. Now, approximately half of the individuals graduating from medical schools in our country are women. Therefore, it is imperative that we ensure our institution is compensating our women faculty fairly and equitably by evaluating our current practices and having the integrity to address any areas of discrepancies for compensation and support. Not only are we morally compelled to do so, it will make our institution stronger.

Recently, the AAMC released a report titled, “Promising Practices for Understanding and Addressing Salary Equity in U.S. Medical Schools.” In their in-depth analysis of national salary trends by gender at 11 different institutions, the AAMC found that “gaps in median total compensation exist for women faculty members across the majority of departments and specialties and at almost every rank.” They also encouraged medical schools to conduct their own local salary analysis in order to start developing a salary equity strategy, which is exactly what we are undertaking at this time.

While these efforts are largely aimed at correcting any discrepancies based on gender, faculty members’ salaries will be reviewed to ensure that everyone is being paid fairly based on their experience, responsibilities, and qualifications. No one’s compensation will be negatively impacted by the results of this study, and the action plan that we will put in place once the study is complete will only seek to correct any disparities that may exist.

The compensation review will begin by collecting CVs from faculty members across all departments, concluding on December 20, 2019. From there, a third party will extract all of the pertinent data. Faculty will have an opportunity to review the data and edit it for any errors. This must be completed by December 31, 2019. The data will then be delivered to a labor economist. The economist will review the data and form a study analysis, which will then be delivered to an oversight committee for finalization of the study. We expect this portion of the process (after data delivery) to take approximately 6-9 months. From there, we will create a compensation outlier analysis and publicize the study. I expect to see concrete results from this process by the end of 2020.