Women in medicine: Time to be seen and heard

Women doctors

Women make up about 75 percent of hospital staff and 50 percent of medical school graduates. And some women have even broken the glass ceiling to run healthcare organizations from the executive suite. Still, one Harvard academic wants to know why we aren’t hearing more women’s voices in healthcare.

Julie K. Silver, M.D., associate professor at Harvard Medical School, is trying to turn up the volume on women’s voices in medicine, as she writes in STAT. As proof points of the invisibility of women in healthcare, she notes that approximately three-quarters of Becker’s Hospital Review’s “On the record: 50 best healthcare quotes of 2015” cited men. Further, women’s voices were only included with men’s in “The Most Important Healthcare Quotes of 2015,” which was compiled by Forbes.

Silver’s mission is to share the data and then actively engage with doctors, reporters and hospital communications leaders in a respectful manner, she writes in STAT. Using the #QuoteHer hashtag, she wants to “examine the loud roar on social media” that’s occurring at these two hashtags: #WhatADoctorLooksLike and #ILookLikeASurgeon.

Women are at the helm of hospitals, nonprofits, businesses and research institutes around the world. Silver will have face time with many of them at the first-ever “Career Advancement and Leadership Skills for Women in Healthcare” course, which she’s running at Harvard Medical School in November. The three-day continuing medical education course is expected to attract more than 250 women in healthcare leadership roles.

“It’s high time that women who have dedicated their careers to medicine are seen and heard,” she writes. “You can quote me on that.”