In the following article by Kalyani et al., all career development awardees (K01, K08, or K23) in the Department of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine between the years 1999-2008 were identified to determine if sex differences exist in the attainment of independent funding, including R01 or equivalent awards (U01, P01, P50). A previous study in 2009 based on national data suggested that women are 21% less likely to attain an R01 compared to men. The DOM, in particular, has had several long-standing efforts to promote diversity and it remains unclear whether sex differences are necessarily observed at all institutions. The key findings of the study are:

  • A similar number of men (n=49) and women (n=43) received a K award during this time
  • From the month/year of K award receipt through 2012, 37% of the K awardees received an R01 or equivalent (U01, P01, P50) award, without significant differences between men and women (33% vs. 42%, p = 0.36)
  • The median time to attaining the first R01 or equivalent award was similar in men and women (5.6 vs 5.3 years, p=0.93)
  • At 10 years, the attainment of R01 or equivalent awards was 64% overall (56% among men vs 74% among women)
  • There was no difference of R01 or equivalent award attainment by sex during follow-up (log-rank p-value = 0.41).
  • For any R award (also including R03, R21, R34), the rate of attainment at 10 years was 72% overall (70% among men versus 76% among women, log-rank p=0.63)
  • There was no difference of any R award attainment by sex during follow-up (log rank p-value = 0.63).
  • In adjusted Cox proportional hazards models (accounting for age at K award, race/ethnicity, presence of MD degree and funding period), sex was not a significant independent predictor of R01/equivalent award or any R award
  • Interestingly, Black race and/or Hispanic ethnicity significantly predicted any R award attainment (adjusted HR=2.34, 95% CI 1.02-5.37)
  • Faculty members with an MD degree were 72% less likely to obtain an R01 or equivalent award (adjusted HR = 0.28, 95% CI 0.10–0.79)

In conclusion, no sex differences in the attainment of independent funding by men and women were observed in the DOM. The study suggests that research success in traditionally less successful groups may be possible in a department of medicine. Specific diversity initiatives that effectively promote success in the attainment of independent research funding should be explored in the future.

ARTICLE: Sex Differences Among Career Development Awardees in the Attainment of Independent Research Funding in a Department of Medicine

AUTHORS: Rita Rastogi Kalyani, Hsin-Chieh Yeh, Jeanne M.Clark, Myron L.Weisfledt, Terry Choi and Susan M. MacDonald

JOURNAL: J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2015 Aug 20. [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract

BACKGROUND: National data suggest that women are overall less likely than men to attain independent research funding. However, it remains unclear whether such sex differences are also observed in academic institutions that have integrated diversity in the workplace as a priority.

METHODS: During 1999-2008, all National Institutes of Health (NIH) Career Development (K01, K08, or K23) awardees in the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine were identified to investigate differences in the attainment of independent funding by sex, including NIH Research Project Grant (R01) or equivalent awards, (U01, P01, P50), and any R award (also R03, R21, R34) through 2012.

RESULTS: A similar number of men (n = 49) and women (n = 43) received a K award. There were no significant sex differences in attaining an R01/equivalent award or any R award. The median time to attaining the first R01/equivalent award was similar for men and women (5.6 vs. 5.3 years, p = 0.93). The actuarial rate of R01/equivalent award attainment at 10 years was 64% overall (56% among men vs. 74% among women; log-rank p = 0.41). For any R award, the rate was 72% overall (70% among men vs. 76% among women; log-rank p = 0.63). In Cox proportional hazards models, adjusting for race/ethnicity, age, Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree, and funding period, sex was not an independent predictor of R01/equivalent or any R award attainment. Interestingly, black race and/or Hispanic ethnicity significantly predicted any R award attainment (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] = 2.34, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02-5.37).

CONCLUSIONS: No sex differences were found in the attainment of independent funding by K awardees in our study. Future studies to investigate the impact of specific diversity initiatives on subsequent success in attaining independent research funding are needed.

For a link to the full article, click here: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jwh.2015.5331

Link to abstract online: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26291588

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