Harvard researcher Nancy C Andrews, MD has been tapped to head Duke University’s School of Medicine, becoming the only woman to permanently head a top-ten medical school. Harvard Medical School — ranked number one by US News and World Report — has a woman interim dean, Dr. Barbara J. MacNeil.
While medical schools have achieved near-gender equity in enrollment, a gender balance among faculty and administrators lags far behind. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, in 2005 women made up 49.5 percent of medical students, but only 14 percent of senior faculty and 10 percent of deans. In 1990 there was only one woman heading any of the country’s 125 medical schools, and in 2000, only six.
“The fact that in 2007 there are still firsts for what women can do in medicine says something about how difficult it can be,” Dr. Andrews told the Associated Press. “I hope this does not seem so unusual a few years from now.”