Recognizing Gender Parity in Military Medicine: An Analysis of Plenary Speakers and Award Recipients at Military American College of Physicians Chapter Meetings

Lisa M. Conte, Joshua D. Hartzell, Cristin A. Mount, Matthew B. Carroll, Mark Tschanz, Dora J. Stadler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Despite the advances toward gender parity in medicine, a gap exists in the recognition of women physicians at academic and subspecialty medical conferences as plenary speakers and award winners. Conferences are cornerstones in the practice of medicine because they serve as platforms to showcase physicians’ successes and disseminate work. The selection of who is honored at such events can impact an individual’s career by creating networks that may lead to future opportunities. Additionally, the trend of who is honored may create expectations in the minds of trainees and early career physicians about what qualities help an individual achieve success. Our group sought to determine whether there was a gender gap in award recognition and speakership opportunities at the American College of Physicians (ACP) annual military chapter meetings. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study with data extracted from publicly available conference programs for the Army-Air Force annual ACP meetings and the Navy annual ACP meetings. Five years of data erewere reviewed for invited plenary speakers. Ten years of data were reviewed for award recipients. For an award to be included, it had to have a preset description and criteria for recipient selection. Awards not given annually or awards given for less than 3 years were excluded. Individuals’ gender was determined based on the first name and confirmed through internet searches of pronoun descriptors from professional websites. Comparisons were done using Fisher’s exact test and chi-square tests when appropriate, with statistical significance set at a two-tailed P-value of <.05. Results: Women comprised 26-30% of the chapter membership and there was no significant difference in gender distribution between the chapters. Fourteen of the 69 plenary speakers were women (20%), with significantly fewer women presenters in the Navy as compared to men. Thirty-six of the 134 award winners were women (27%), which was not significantly different from the overall chapter gender distributions. While women recipients of lifetime, teaching, research, and medical student awards were not significantly different from chapter gender distribution, women faculty were significantly more likely to receive an award for teaching than for research, with women receiving 13 of the 28 teaching awards (41%), and none of the 10 faculty research awards. Conclusions: The military chapter ACP meetings reviewed mirrored civilian data in many ways, although military plenary speaker and award recipient distributions were more representative of the gender distribution of the branches. Review of the nomination process, planning committee selection, and opportunities for diversity training could be optimized to ensure that future conferences have a gender-balanced representation of individuals being honored. Improving upon current practices is important for the growth and retention of women military physicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1496-E1500
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


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