Common pathways to Dean of Medicine at U. S. medical schools

Clare E. Jacobson, Whitney H. Beeler, Kent A. Griffith, Terence R. Flotte, Carrie L. Byington, Reshma Jagsi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose We sought to evaluate common leadership experiences and academic achievements obtained by current U.S. Medical School Deans of Medicine (DOMs) prior to their first appointment as Dean in order to elucidate a common pathway for promotion. Methods In April-June 2019 the authors requested a curriculum vitae from each of the 153 LCMEaccredited U.S. Medical School DOMs. The authors abstracted data on prior appointments, demographics, and achievements from CVs and online databases. Differences by gender and institutional rank were then evaluated by the Fisher's exact and Wilcoxon rank sum tests. Results CVs were obtained for 62% of DOMs (95 of 153), with women comprising 16% of the responding cohort (15/95). Prior to appointment as DOM, 34% of respondents had served as both permanent Department Chair and Associate Dean, 39% as permanent Department Chair but not Associate Dean, and 17% as Associate Deans but not permanent Department Chair. There was a non-significant trend for men to have been more likely to have been a permanent Department Chair (76% vs 53%, p = 0.11) and less likely to have been an Associate Dean (48% vs 67%, p = 0.26) compared to women. Responding DOMs at Top-25 research institutions were mostly male (15/16), more likely to have been appointed before 2010 (38% vs 14%, p = 0.025), and had higher H-indices (mean (SD): 73.1 (32.3) vs 33.5 (22.5), p<0.01) than non-Top-25 Deans. Conclusions The most common pathway to DOM in this study cohort was prior service as Department Chair. This suggests that diversification among Department Chair positions or expansion of search criteria to seek leaders from pools other than Department Chairs may facilitate increased diversity, equity, and inclusion among DOM overall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0249078
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3 March
StatePublished - Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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