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Portrait of a medical student of Hispanic origin.

First-year Medicine Student Coauthors Article on JAMA Network

Women comprise a majority of the U.S. health care workforce, but are underrepresented on leadership teams – which likely diminishes their role in policy decisions that affect population and women’s health, according to an article published recently on the JAMA Network, online publications of the American Medical Association. The article “Representation of Women in the Leadership Structure of the U.S. Health Care System” was coauthored by first-year College of Medicine student Melanie Fernandez with colleagues from across the country.

The cross-sectional study collected publicly available data on the gender of members of senior executive leadership teams and/or boards of directors of selected organizations comprising health systems, health insurance groups and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. More than 9,800 positions were examined.

The researchers found that in health systems, women comprise 17.5% of board chairs. The number is 21.3% in health insurance groups. Women held only 15.3% of chief executive officer positions in health systems and 15.8% in health insurance groups. Organizations with higher gender diversity on the board of directors were more likely to have a female CEO.

Fernandez, a graduate of NEOMED’s Modern Anatomical Sciences program, is featured in the Fall 2021 issue of NEOMED’s Ignite magazine.

Read Representation of Women in the Leadership Structure of the US Health Care System