Leadership Development and Diversity in Academic Family Medicine

Health equity and diversity in the workforce can lead to better patient health outcomes. Patients are more satisfied when they are cared for by providers with similar ethnic, racial and language backgrounds. However, the current physician workforce does not present enough diversity to meet patient needs and care for underserved populations.

The Council of Academic Family Medicine (CAFM) has identified a need for a better and more diverse leadership pipeline for academic family medicine. While the number of women and underrepresented minorities in the field is increasing, the number of women and minorities in senior leadership positions has not kept pace.1

Attention must be paid to key factors, other than programmatic, which impact the pathway to leadership in academic family medicine: environment, career navigation, mentoring, promoting equity and identifying and eliminating bias – both conscious and unconscious.

The Leadership Development Tool was created to match individuals with the right opportunity at the right time along their academic pathway. The tool shows a visual depiction of the role of mentors, sponsors, peers, and coaches play in helping individuals be successful in their career. Women and minorities are less likely to have mentors, sponsors, and coaches. Additionally, it shows potential paths one can take in academic medicine as this is often unknown to potential leaders, especially those who are minorities and women.


About the Council of Academic Family Medicine (CAFM)

The Council of Academic Family Medicine (CAFM) provides a unified voice for academic family medicine and a structure for family medicine's academic organizations (Association of Departments of Family Medicine [ADFM], Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors [AFMRD], North American Primary Care Research Group [NAPCRG], and Society of Teachers of Family Medicine [STFM]) to work together on projects of common interest.

In 2016, CAFM established a Leadership Development Task Force to develop a plan to explore what is known about leadership development for academic family medicine and to address gaps.


1Leadership Development Taskforce Final Report to CAFM, December 31, 2017