Fewer women have reached the rank of professor. Sixteen percent of the 1,053 “full’’ professors at Harvard Medical School are women, while at Tufts University and Boston University medical schools, 24 percent of professors at the top rank are women.
“Partly it’s women positioning themselves to be ready for those positions,'' Pories said. “The proper kind of mentoring has been missing.’’
Dr. Cristina Ferrone, 40, a surgeon at Mass. General, said her male colleagues and bosses always have treated her fairly. But she said that most male surgeons have spouses who take charge of the children and run the household. Ferrone, whose husband is also a surgeon, does not have that luxury. “Most women [surgeons] don’t have husbands who stay at home,’’ said Ferrone.
But she said the surgery department at Mass. General has adapted to this new reality; seven of the 15 general surgeons are women. Surgeons at the hospital meet regularly between 6:30 and 7 a.m. and 5 and 8 p.m. — crucial times on the home front — but Ferrone said she is not expected to attend every conference.
“In the past, the schedule at hospitals was very rigid. It was a face-time issue,’’ she said. “Now people understand there needs to be flexibility.’’
Dr. Maureen Connelly, dean for faculty affairs at Harvard Medical School, said the school has adopted programs to help doctors with families advance their careers. They include fellowships of $25,000 to $50,000 a year that allow physicians to hire assistants and spend less time seeing patients so they can focus on publishing research. Harvard is starting to see results, she said. Half of the instructors promoted to assistant professor in the past year were women.
“Over the past 10 years, the role of women in surgery has dramatically changed for the better,’’ said Dr. Jane Mendez, a surgeon at Boston Medical Center. “Most individuals have made the move into the 21st century.’’
Liz Kowalczyk can be reached at email@example.com.