Health Equity

Women physician suicide risk, faculty promotion under microscope


Two research projects announced Wednesday will explore timely issues in the medical profession as they relate to women—physician suicide risk, awareness and prevention and the advancement of female faculty in academic medical centers. The projects are winners of this year’s Joan F. Giambalvo Fund for the Advancement of Women, which is announced in conjunction with Women in Medicine Month.


Research that will put women physicians’ issues under the microscope includes:

  • Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine and pediatrics at Indiana University and executive director of the university’s National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, will examine the issue of physician suicide. “With the assistance of the Giambalvo research grant, we will look at some of the reasons for the increased rate of suicide among female physicians and what mechanisms exist to provide support, treatment and management of emotional distress aimed at suicide prevention,” Dr. Rohr-Kirchgraber said in an AMA news release. 
  • Lucy Spalluto, MD, assistant professor of clinical radiology and radiological sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, will focus on designing and implementing a module-based educational program to promote the advancement of female faculty in academic medical centers. “Ultimately, I hope to design a sustainable curriculum to promote female faculty development and retention within not only my institution but throughout academic medical centers across the nation,” Dr. Spalluto said. “I’m thrilled and so appreciative to the AMA for giving me this opportunity.”

The awards of up to $10,000 are given by the AMA to research programs focused on advancing the study of women in the medical profession and strengthening the AMA’s ability to identify and address the issues affecting women physicians and medical students.

Applications for the Joan F. Giambalvo Fund for the Advancement of Women, a joint initiative of the AMA Women Physicians Section and the AMA Foundation, are accepted every summer. Previous research topics have included flexible work options, gender differences in practice patterns, and promotion and retention of diversity in medical education.

Celebrate Women in Medicine Month this September

Don’t forget to look for the #WIMmonth hashtag on the AMA’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, which will be honoring innovative women all month. With this year’s theme "Women in medicine: Promoting healthy living for physicians and patients," September also is a good time to reflect on your own well-being. Free modules in the AMA’s STEPS Forward series can help you increase your efficiency and boost your resiliency to put the joy back in practice.

Learn additional ways you can celebrate