Isolation, lack of mentorship, sponsorship, and role models

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Burnout in Women Physicians: Prevention, Treatment, and Management




Academic medicine; Burnout; Career advancement; Mentorship and sponsorship; Professional isolation; Women


© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020. Despite the increasing prevalence of women in medicine, they still represent a small percentage of medical school faculty. Due to a “leaky” pipeline, women often do not advance past midlevel academic positions, and few have senior leadership roles. Women may engage in meaningful academic or clinical work that does not traditionally lead to promotion. Even when publication rates are similar within a given field, women still have a slower career trajectory as compared to men. The paucity of women in medicine, especially in leadership roles, can lead to professional isolation, which contributes to burnout and its long-term consequences. Academic institutions can implement a number of strategies to help combat professional isolation among women including promoting mentorship, sponsoring, and coaching activities, creating focused pathways for promotion, providing constructive feedback, and developing a transparent organizational structure.

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