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AMA Foundation focuses on advancement of women

The AMA Foundation is proud to join with the AMA Women Physicians Congress (WPC) in establishing the Fund for the Advancement of Women in Medicine. The Fund, which encompasses the Joan F. Giambalvo Memorial Scholarship program formerly administered by the WPC, provides financial support for physician and other researchers exploring the key career issues facing women in medicine today.

“The AMA Foundation leadership is excited about highlighting this issue,” says Jean Howard, AMA Foundation President. “Expanding the scope of this program through the establishment of a new fund is especially noteworthy this year because it is the 30th anniversary of the AMA women in medicine program.”

Today, women comprise nearly a third of all US physicians and a half of all US medical students. Although this can be viewed as progress, gender bias and discrimination continue to exist in medicine. According to a US Census Bureau report, no other profession in the United States exhibits greater salary disparities by sex. Female physicians make 63 cents for every dollar earned by a male physician.

Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil

First grant recipient

Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil, who received the first Giambalvo award in June 2006, used the Giambalvo funds to support two research projects. One quantified women's representation among the editors of prominent biomedical journals and was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The other project examined the parental leave policies of various medical boards and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Jagsi is continuing her work in this area as a physician faculty scholar of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Receiving the Giambalvo Award provided me with the critical initial support to develop my work sufficiently to apply for additional funding and pursue this work in greater depth,” she says.

The program awards annual grants up to $10,000 to physicians and researchers from related fields that submit innovative work/practice research proposals.

Applications are objectively and systematically reviewed by a subcommittee of individuals from the WPC Governing Council and the AMA Foundation Board for feasibility, originality, applicability to the spirit of the award and importance to women in medicine.

“We have been very impressed by the quality of the proposals and the commitment of the applicants to address some of the many questions facing women in medicine,” says Carol D. Berkowitz, MD, FAAP, FACEP, chair of the review committee.

The AMA Foundation supports a broad range of programs in medical education and public health. Donations to the Fund for the Advancement of Women in Medicine and other AMA Foundation funds may be made online at www.amafoundation.org/go/donate.