By Glenda Sublett, TeamHealth Senior Vice President of Operations Support, and Director, Women in Leadership Program
Many of us are familiar with famous women from Abigail Adams to Rosa Parks. Our clinicians are likely familiar, too, with the names of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to be awarded a medical degree in the U.S. and then Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler the first African-American woman to graduate from medical school.
Fast forward, and it’s been rewarding to hear many women physicians’ and scientists’ names mentioned as playing key roles in the development of the COVID-19 vaccines, such as Kathrin Jansen, PH.D., who heads Pfizer’s Vaccine Research and Development efforts and Dr. Lisa Jackson who led Moderna’s phase 3 trials in the U.S.
Today, we stand on the shoulders of countless clinicians and administrative leaders who are women and who have positively impacted the health and well-being of millions of individuals. For that we celebrate!
Much is still to be written though about women’s impact on history, because we still have much work to do.
Interestingly, it wasn’t until 1998 that the American Medical Association elected its first woman association president, Dr. Nancy Dickey. Then, it took another 10 years, before Dr. Patrice Harris was sworn in as AMA’s first African-American, woman president.
Thanks to the community of women leaders shattering glass ceilings and to our supporters, for the first time ever in December 2019, the Association of American Medical Colleges reported that more women than men enrolled in medical school. Yes, women constituted 50.5% of U.S. medical school students. I’m betting Dr. Blackwell dreamed about stats like that.
Women at TeamHealth
Let’s take one moment though to look at TeamHealth’s data. Our company has made steady progress in the number of women in leadership positions, and we have felt and seen strong support by senior TeamHealth leaders toward diversity and inclusion. At the end of 2020, 53.7% of our administrative leaders were women. So a majority of the administrative roles of director and above are filled by women at TeamHealth. On the clinical side though, women fill 28.4% of our clinician leader roles. With those medical school stats and the high percentage of women in advanced practice clinician programs, I believe we will continue to see the number of TeamHealth clinician leaders who are women rise.
In 2020, a most historical year, we saw women across TeamHealth step up to ensure the delivery of excellent patient care and to learn about and promote vaccinations. Women supported one another as parents navigated through remote school and many faced unique challenges related to elderly relatives.
There’s much to celebrate here in the month of March as we think about women’s roles in healthcare and the positive impact that women leaders and staff at TeamHealth are having across the country. Thanks for the positive influence that you are having on the history of those around you.
About Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month celebrates women and their contributions and achievements in a variety of fields and contemporary society. It is celebrated during March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia to correspond with International Women’s Day on March 8; and during October in Canada to correspond with the celebration of Persons Day on October 18.
In 1981, Congress requested the president to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982, as “Women’s History Week.” Presidential Proclamation 4903 proclaimed the week beginning on March 7, 1982, as the first “Women’s History Week,” recognizing the vital role of women in American history. Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week” and authorizing the president to issue a proclamation to inform the country of this recognition and urge the people to study the contributions of women to U.S. history. In 1987, Congress designated the month of March as “Women’s History Month” and requested the president to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the U.S. to observe this month with activities and ceremonies to honor the achievements of American women.