Background: Three national career development programs (CDPs) - Early and Mid-Career Programs sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine sponsored by Drexel University - seek to expand gender diversity in faculty and institutional leadership of academic medical centers. Over 20 years of success and continued need are evident in the sustained interest and investment of individuals and institutions. However, their impact on promotion in academic rank remains unknown. The purpose of the study is to compare promotion rates of women CDP participants and other faculty of similar institutional environment and initial career stage. Methods: The study examined retrospective cohorts of 2,719 CDP participants, 12,865 nonparticipant women, and 26,810 men, from the same institutions, with the same degrees, and first years of appointment in rank. Rates of promotion to Associate and Full Professor ranks in respective cohorts of Assistant and of Associate Professors were compared using Kaplan-Meier survival curves and log-rank tests, and logistic regression adjusting for other predictors of academic success. Results: In adjusted analyses, participants were more likely than men and non-participant women to be promoted to Associate Professor and as likely as men and more likely than non-participant women to be promoted to Full Professor within 10 years. Within 5 years, CDP participants were more likely than nonparticipant women to be promoted to Associate Professor and as likely as to be promoted to Full Professor; in the same interval, participants were promoted to both higher ranks at the same rates as men. For both intervals, nonparticipant women were significantly less likely than men to be promoted to either rank. Conclusions: The higher rates of promotion for women participating in national CDPs support the effectiveness of these programs in building capacity for academic medicine.
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