Virtual event Sept. 14 to support women in health care

by John Keenan, UNMC strategic communications | September 10, 2021

Image with caption: From left, top row: Howard Liu, MD, Chancellor Jeffrey Gold, MD, Daniel Gih, MD, and Laura Fuller. From left, bottom row: Linda Love, EdD, Derek Sullivan, Debi Pittock, Karin Humenik-Cullen, Sara Walker and Joy Wallar.

From left, top row: Howard Liu, MD, Chancellor Jeffrey Gold, MD, Daniel Gih, MD, and Laura Fuller. From left, bottom row: Linda Love, EdD, Derek Sullivan, Debi Pittock, Karin Humenik-Cullen, Sara Walker and Joy Wallar.

UNMC and Nebraska Medicine leaders will speak at 1 p.m. on Sept. 14 as part of "Give Her a Reason to Stay in Healthcare:  A Panel on Institutional Support for Retention of Women in the Pandemic."

The panel is part of a national campaign, geared to coincide with Women in Medicine Month.

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Brandy Clarke, PhD Sasha Shillcutt, MD

"The pandemic has strained our workforce well beyond our limits and has had a tremendous negative impact on our women in medicine," said Brandy Clarke, PhD, UNMC director of equity and one of the event’s organizers. "Unfortunately, we are seeing many women now leave the field, which is further depleting our resources at a time when we need them most. This campaign highlights the need for our leaders and allies to act now to address the many compounding issues that are driving our women from health care and give them a reason to stay."

"We know that the pandemic has put unprecedented pressure on women in health care, especially those who are working while providing caregiving roles, creating enormous work/life conflict," agreed Howard Liu, MD, chair of the UNMC Department of Psychiatry and event organizer. "As a chair, I know that male allies must be proactive partners with our female colleagues to create strategies to retain women faculty, trainees and staff."  

Both UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, and Nebraska Medicine CEO James Linder, MD, are sponsors of the event, which also will feature representatives of Nebraska Medicine and UNMC’s DEI offices, human resources and campus leaders.

The event will discuss themes such as:

  • Caregiving resources, including expanding access to daycare, caregiver support policies and possible next steps from the med center’s human resources officers;
  • Holding listening sessions at the unit level to discuss needs and strategize for short-term, intermediate and long-term solutions;   
  • The importance of data transparency on issues such as pay parity; and
  • A vision for the med center to become the most supportive institution for women in health care locally, regionally and nationally.

The event can be viewed on Zoom.

"I am pleased to see the energy around this important topic," Dr. Linder said. "Efforts to assure that we have a diverse workforce is essential to retain talent and provide role models for future students."

"Initiatives such as the ‘Give Her A Reason To Stay’ campaign are incredibly important, as they shed a light on the ongoing gender inequities that are facing women and resulting in a diminishing workforce," said Sasha Shillcutt, MD, a panelist for the event. "It is easy for us as leaders to scratch our heads and ask ‘Why did she leave?’ when we hear of a woman quitting health care, but the truth is, the inequities that persist daily are rectifiable with strong leadership. In the middle of a pandemic, it is easy for leaders to forget the drivers behind gender inequities in our divisions and sweep them under the rug. We must be vigilant to retain women in health care, and to do this, we must be aware and amend ongoing gender inequity."

"UNMC and Nebraska Medicine continue to work hard to show our commitment to the med center faculty, students and staff. This special event focuses on the women of the med center, and particularly those who are struggling with the stress and burnout that this pandemic has caused," Dr. Gold said. "This event is part of an initiative to provide useful information, support and show that we recognize the challenges being faced by women in medicine at this pivotal time."

"Our women colleagues represent an equal and vital part of the UNMC family who contribute so much in the success of our organization," said Dele Davies, MD, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. "I look forward to this conversation as one piece of our ongoing commitment to ensuring we recognize and address the unique challenges they face in being successful and that they are rewarded equitably for their efforts."

Attendees will receive a resource guide on short term and intermediate/long term actions steps that leaders can take to create a more inclusive culture for women in health care.  

For those unable to attend the event, the session will be recorded and available shortly afterward.