A Summary Report from the Research Partnership on Women in Science Careers

Phyllis L. Carr, Deborah Helitzer, Karen Freund, Alyssa Westring, Richard McGee, Patricia B. Campbell, Christine V. Wood, Amparo Villablanca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: In response to the landmark report “Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering,” the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health issued a request for applications that funded 14 R01 grants to investigate causal factors to career success for women in STEM. Following completion of the 4-year grants, the grant PIs formed a grassroots collaborative, the Research Partnership on Women in Science Careers. Objective: To summarize the work of the Research Partnership, which resulted in over 100 publications. Methods: We developed six themes to organize the publications, with a “Best Practices” for each theme at the end of each section: Barriers to Career Advancement; Mentoring, Coaching, and Sponsorship; Career Flexibility and Work-Life Balance; Pathways to Leadership; Compensation Equity; and Advocating for Change and Stakeholder Engagement. Results: Women still contend with sexual harassment, stereotype threat, a disproportionate burden of family responsibilities, a lack of parity in compensation and resource allocation, and implicit bias. Strategies to address these barriers using the Bronfenbrenner ecological model at the individual, interpersonal, institutional, academic community, and policy levels include effective mentoring and coaching, having a strong publication record, addressing prescriptive gender norms, positive counter-stereotype imaging, career development training, networking, and external career programs such as the AAMC Early and Mid-Career Programs and Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM). Conclusions: Cultural transformation is needed to address the barriers to career advancement for women. Implementing the best practices noted of the work of the Research Partnership can help to achieve this goal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-362
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • biomedical sciences
  • institutional climate
  • leadership
  • mentoring
  • women’s careers
  • work-life balance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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