Medical Resident Wellness

Gender role in residency burnout, faculty promotion under scrutiny


Two studies will be taking on questions about the role gender may play in key components of the medical profession, including empathy and burnout in residency and faculty promotion and retention at medical schools. The projects are the winners of this year’s Joan F. Giambalvo Fund for the Advancement of Women, announced Wednesday in conjunction with Women in Medicine Month.

The theme “Innovators and Leaders Changing Health Care” for this year’s Women in Medicine Month will be seen in action through these timely research projects. They’re being spearheaded by two women physicians:

  • Elizabeth H. Ellinas, MD, assistant dean for faculty affairs at the Medical College of Wisconsin, will be collaborating with colleagues to study how to enhance the position of female faculty in academic rank and leadership positions. The study will look at gender differences in seeking promotion and leadership and intent to leave. 
  • Sneha Harshad Shah, MD, associate program director of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, will be studying gender differences in empathy and burnout among emergency medicine residents. Her study also will test the effectiveness of an empathy training curriculum for residency.

“The gap between women and men undeniably exists in the house of medicine,” said Dr. Shah. “I applied for this fund because it supports projects that raise awareness of gender inequalities so that women can persevere and rise through their professional careers.”

“We are proud to recognize two outstanding members of the medical community, whose work is raising awareness about these issues,” AMA President Robert M. Wah, MD, said in a news release. “Their work will help propel the AMA’s advocacy efforts on the advancement and understanding of women in medicine.”

The Joan F. Giambalvo Fund for the Advancement of Women was established by the AMA Women Physicians Section (WPS) and the AMA Foundation. This unique program offers funding specifically for health care researchers to identify and address issues that affect women physicians and medical students. 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 by learning more about women in the profession:

  • Look for the #WIMmonth hashtag on the AMA’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, where the AMA is honoring innovative women all month.
  • Listen to members of the AMA-WPS share their stories and reflections in a new video series.
  • Learn about the history of women physicians (log in)—and what the future may bring.
  • Get insight into the mentors who have driven women leaders.
  • Check out the honorees of the AMA-WPS Inspirational Physician Awards.