Transparency in Academic EM Promotion – Closing the Gaps
March 31, 2022
Written by Rebecca White
A Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) task force interviewed academic EM leaders to determine areas for improvement in equitable faculty advancement and compensation, and to create systems-based recommendations in each area.
Why does this matter?
Inequalities in salary and promotion of emergency medicine (EM) faculty by race and gender have been apparent for decades. Prior studies have offered individual-level solutions, but how can we attack this problem on a systemic level?
Structure and transparency are key
SAEM created the Research Equity Task Force in 2018, which conducted multiple phases of interviews on disparities in the compensation and promotion processes within academic EM. A convenience sample of EM department chairs was used in Phase 1, while Phase 2 included vice-chairs and other individuals involved in faculty advancement. They asked open-ended narrative and closed-ended questions, collecting responses from 53 participants.
Areas for improvement were identified from interview responses, including the need for: structured promotion process; utilization of structured mentorship; clear requirements for promotion; and transparent salary structure. A three-tiered recommendation structure was developed to address disparities in these areas (see table). Tiers include minimal change to reduce variation between departments, target change to create effective systems for equitable growth and advancement, and aspirational change to accelerate individualized advancement. In Phase 3, the task force collected and implemented feedback on these recommendations in a national webinar. These recommendations were endorsed by SAEM, AACEM, AWAEM, ADIEM, and AAAEM.
Institutional solutions addressing disparities in compensation and advancement of emergency medicine physicians: A critical appraisal of gaps and associated recommendations. Acad Emerg Med. 2022 Jan 22. doi: 10.1111/acem.14452. Epub ahead of print.