Women and minorities value, perceive, and experience professionalism differently

Marginalized groups of people value professionalism more—and are more likely to leave a job at an institution due to issues of professionalism—compared to their white, male counterparts, according to a Penn Medicine study of staff, faculty, and students who were affiliated with a large, academic health system in 2015 and 2017. The findings, published in JAMA Network Open, suggest that health care institutions must reevaluate and redefine professionalism standards in order to successfully make the culture of academic medicine more inclusive and to improve the retention of minorities and women.

Drawing of a group of people of different genders and races standing together wearing face masks.

This study is one of a series of research projects launched at Penn Medicine, under the leadership of Vice Dean Eve J. Higginbotham, as part of Office of Inclusion and Diversity’s mission to chart Penn Medicine’s course toward inclusivity for all groups.

“What does it actually mean to operationalize an anti-racist, inclusive workplace? It means understanding the factors in an environment that allow women and minorities to thrive in your organization,” says Jaya Aysola, assistant dean of inclusion and diversity at the Perelman School of Medicine and executive director at the Penn Medicine Center for Health Equity Advancement. “We wanted to look at the ways that marginalized groups perceive and experience professionalism, so that we could move toward standardizing policies in a way that is really inclusive for all. Recruiting female and minority students and employees is not enough if an organization cannot retain them.”

This story is by Lauren Ingeno. Read more at Penn Medicine News.