Ep. 32 Sexual harassment and bias in medicine: Will metrics help?

Jane van Dis, MD

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, a sweeping report was recently published by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine detailing 30 years of research on the sexual harassment of women in academia.  In addition, reports of discrimination and evidence of a pervasive “pay gap” between men and women are also coming to the surface.

Our guest is Jane van Dis, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist who recently co-authored a perspective in the New England Journal of Medicine on the occasion of the NASEM report.  Dr. van Dis sheds light on the report and highlights what future steps must be taken.  She is the co-founder of Equity Quotient, a data-analytics firm that provides workplace assessments of gender culture to help organizations create equitable work environments.


Jane van Dis, MD:  Twitter


Choo E, van Dis J, and Kass D.  Time’s Up for Medicine? Only Time Will Tell (New Engl J Med)

NASEM Report: Sexual harassment of women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.


Watch the episode on our YouTube channel.


  1. Anthony M. Perry, on 10/03/2018 at 3:37 AM

    I heard lots of criticism of culture and society. Strange that this discussion among physicians never mentions biology.

  2. Anthony M. Perry, on 10/03/2018 at 4:20 AM

    Wow! I just caught the last part of your show. Dr van Dis makes way too many assumptions about society that she thinks are axiomatic. If we assume off the bat that general statistics on infant mortality are primarily the result of systemic racism we’ll never get anywhere because we’re barking up the wrong tree. I think her assumptions about gender are in much the same vein. For example is the preponderance of women in OB/Gyn really because they’re being excluded from other fields or because that’s an area of particular interest to women?

    I worked with women all through my career. In general my impression was that they were judged by patients and other physicians on their competence and availability. As far as income was concerned there was no indication of physician gender on insurance claim forms. Granted this was not in academia so the story may be different there. Maybe I’m just an old fuddy-duddy. I admit that.

    No question that the genders congregate. I worked together with a female associate for years. I thought it was interesting that she tended to refer mostly to female specialists where they were available. But of course those were the other docs she tended to be most friendly with.

    Anish said he went to Temple Med as did I, and I did my residency at UCSF. No wonder I like you guys.

    • Anish koka on 11/04/2018 at 9:23 PM

      Thanks Anthony! It certainly feels like the data follows from a predetermined conclusion. Good to know you bleed temple red. Love that place.

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