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Association of American Medical Colleges

Margaret Dunn, MD
Professor of Surgery
Associate Dean for Faculty and Clinical Affairs
Wright State School of Medicine
Dayton, Ohio

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) is a non-profit association representing the nation’s 125 accredited allopathic medical schools. The AAMC aims to improve the nation’s health through the advancement of medical schools and teaching hospitals. The Association has five constituent components: the Council of Deans, the Council of Teaching Hospitals and Health Systems, the Council of Faculty and Academic Societies, the Organization of Student Representatives, and the Organization of Resident Representatives. Each of these components elects members to the Board of Directors, the AAMC’s 30-member governing body.

The AAMC houses or administers a baffling array of groups and programs, many identified by obscure acronyms.  The most familiar are:

  • MCAT and AMCAS, the admission testing and application services for medical schools leading to the MD degree
  • ERAS and NRMP, the application service for allopathic residency positions and the “Match.”

For women in academic surgery, useful resources available from the AAMC include:

Report on Medical School Faculty Salaries

This report compiles compensation data for full-time faculty positions at U.S. medical schools. Summary tables provide average compensation and percentile statistics by rank and department for basic and clinical science faculty. Additional tables summarize data by type of school, and region. A print version can be purchased for an exorbitant price from the AAMC; it is supplied annually to every member school, typically to dean’s offices. The data is also available online to authorized dean’s office staff. It is an invaluable resource for the faculty member negotiating a position, or to simply assess one’s relative compensation status.

Women in U.S. Academic Medicine Statistics

This report is compiled annually. It is available on the public website, and in a print version distributed to all medical schools. Benchmarking Table 6b (PDF): Departures of Women and Men Faculty is a crude but useful measure of the relative atmosphere for women faculty in each of the 125 reporting medical schools.

Group on Women in Medicine and Science

The Group on Women in Medicine and Science offers two popular annual professional development seminars for women faculty, one at the mid-career level and one at the junior level (assistant professor and below). Applications for both exceed the available places. Each applicant must submit a supporting letter from her dean, section or department head describing how her goals for attending the seminar relate to her work and professional aspirations. Just as valuable as the curricular content is the opportunity to network with other women academics outside of surgery.

AAMC’s Professional Development Seminar for Mid-Career Faculty Women in Medicine, held in the summer, is designed for women associate or full professors with clear potential for advancement to a major administrative position such as section or department head. Seminar objectives include: to provide participants with insights into the realities of gaining a senior administrative position in academic medicine; to assist attendees in developing key skill and knowledge areas related to academic and organizational leadership; and to give attendees opportunities to expand their network of colleagues and their vision of their own potential.

AAMC’s Professional Development Seminar for Early Career Women Faculty, held in the fall, is tailored to women early in their first faculty appointment who are aiming for a position of leadership in academic medicine. Targeted primarily at physicians, the seminar is also pertinent for PhDs in medical school departments. Seminar objectives include: to assist participants in creating an agenda for working toward her professional development agenda; to provide participants with insights into the realities of building a career in academic medicine, into key ways in which academic medicine is changing, and into leadership qualities demanded by these realities and changes; to help participants to expand their network of colleagues and role models; and to assist participants in identifying the skill areas on which they most need to work and give them a start in developing them.

AAMC’s annual meeting includes about 12 sessions sponsored by the WIM program in which any meeting attendee may participate. The only meeting specifically for WLOs is the WLO Caucus held at the AAMC annual meeting. AAMC’s WIM program also offers. Being appointed as an WLO is an excellent entree into the AAMC.  However, one should assure that financial support for attending the AAMC meeting, and for support of relevant local activities, is part of the appointment.

Group on Faculty Practice (GFP)

An excellent resource on the public GFP website is a list of programs to develop practice management skills, as well as MBA programs.

Group on Educational Affairs (GEA)

This interest group is organized on a regional basis. For faculty focused on undergraduate medical education, it offers contact with a community of medical educators outside of surgery. There are excellent educational research sessions as part of the annual AAMC meeting, and as part of many of the regional GEA meetings as well.

Minority Faculty Programs

The AAMC sponsors an annual career development program for underrepresented minority faculty (Black, American Indian, Mexican American and Puerto Rican), and maintains a database of minority faculty. The Herbert W. Nickens, M.D. Minority Faculty Fellowship recognizes outstanding minority junior faculty who are committed to careers in academic medicine. Each recipient receives a $15,000 grant to support academic and professional activities.