Dean of the School of Medicine Robert Alpern released the final report from the Ad Hoc Task Force on Gender Equity in a school-wide email Thursday.
The task force — chaired by Linda Bockenstedt, professor of rheumatology and associate dean for faculty development and diversity — was formed in October to address faculty concerns about obstacles to career advancement for women at the school, including inequities in salary, resource allocation and leadership opportunities.
A high-profile sexual harassment case in November, which resulted in professor of cardiology Michael Simons MED ’84 stepping down as chief of cardiology and being removed from his directorship at the Yale Cardiovascular Research Center, brought to light long-standing concerns about the climate for women at the school. This was also investigated by the task force.
Its final report, dated July 15, outlines several recommendations to improve six areas of working life at the school: leadership accountability, inclusion and diversity, faculty advancement, opportunities for leadership, salary equity and resource allocation.
“The report is thoughtful, thorough and unflinching,” Alpern wrote in Thursday’s email. “It is a credit to the task force, whose members have worked hard over the past several months.”
The task force met weekly in December and bimonthly thereafter to review past reports about gender equity, diversity and climate at the school. Findings showed that complaints had been made about gender equity for at least 20 years, but progress towards improving these issues had been slow.
The task force found that climate, faculty advancement, opportunities for leadership, salary equity and resource allocation were the “dominant and recurring” issues for women and minorities at the school.
Alpern reported that several of the report’s recommendations will be implemented, including the hiring of a Chief Diversity Officer, whose primary role will be to improve diversity and inclusion at the school, and the formation of a Faculty Advisory Council to give junior and mid-level faculty more opportunities to communicate with the School’s leadership.
Karen Peart, the University deputy press secretary, said all search committees will be at least 50 percent women, responding to findings from the Task Force that women with relevant backgrounds may be under-represented on search committees for senior positions. She said the proportion of women on search committees has varied in the past, but the most recent searches — for the Chair of Internal Medicine, the Chair of Ophthalmology, and the Associate Dean for Scientific Affairs — were conducted by committees with this ratio.
Alpern’s email reported that the school is also developing a uniform mentoring program for junior faculty and is expanding leadership training opportunities.
Last year, the school graduated its first class in the Emerging Leaders program — a faculty leadership program created in collaboration with Yale Medical Group, Yale-New Haven Hospital and the School of Management. The program will run again this year with a new cohort, with last year’s graduates having the opportunity to participate in an advanced version of the Emerging Leaders program.
The Task Force, which took into account the school’s 2010 Compensation Report, recommended an increase in transparency and equity in faculty compensation.
Peart said the school has completed the initial steps of their detailed review of faculty compensation and used the findings to set salaries from July 1 onwards. A compensation analyst has also been appointed to work closely with departments and the administration to ensure equity in faculty compensation.
Though Alpern has been criticized in the past about his commitment to equity at the school, including at several town hall meetings held in the last academic year, Alpern told faculty members that he is determined to address the equity concerns that have been raised.
“Over the past six months we have taken a number of specific actions, and now more fully informed by the task force’s recommendations, I am committed to further executing our plan of action to ensure a fair and equitable environment for all members of the YSM community,” Alpern wrote.
He closed his email by reminding the community that “much work remains to be done,” adding that his vision is for the school to become a leader in diversity, equity and development.