Rush is committed to improving the health of a diverse population, and that effort requires a diverse workforce. Achieving true gender equality in the health care sector nationwide requires a major, organized approach.

With its deep commitment to equal opportunity, inclusion and diversity, Rush will lead the way toward that goal, not only within our health system, but in collaboration with top U.S. medical centers. The Center for the Advancement of Women in Health Care will serve as an incubator, thought leader and advocate for solutions that eliminate the gender equity gap throughout all levels of our nation’s health care workforce.

Understanding gender equity gaps in health care

While women now make up the majority of the U.S. health care field, they remain woefully underrepresented in positions of leadership. For example, 40% of physicians are women; however, at academic medical centers, only 22% of full professors and just 16% of administrative or departmental leaders are women.

Achieving diversity and equality within every level of health care depends on reaching better answers to the following questions:

  • Why do these disparities persist?
  • How can we begin to narrow the gap?

Leading in evidence-based gender-equity solutions

Developing top women leaders will be crucial to this effort. The center will develop metrics for studying how women perform their best, as well as implement programs that support women’s efforts to excel and reach the top spots in their fields.

The Center for the Advancement of Women in Health Care will work towards gender equity with scholarship and pilot programming that provide real-world, scalable solutions for health care institutions nationwide.

The center’s team of experts will approach the gender equity problem from every angle, including the following:

  • Leading original research and evaluation
  • Developing evidence-based practice models that help individual women advance their careers in health care
  • Spearheading multi-institutional collaborations around gender equity
  • Providing national thought leadership and advocacy aimed at eliminating the gender gap throughout the American health care workforce

Research and programming, both at Rush and with institutional collaborators, will include the following:

  • Women’s representation in the workforce at all levels
  • Salaries and other markers of pay equality
  • Wellness and work-life balance
  • Institutional support of women and their advancement
  • Retention (vs. attrition) of talented women

Our Network

The Center for the Advancement of Women in Health Care is comprised of groups, programs and initiatives at Rush that all work toward the center’s goal of eliminating the gender equity gap in health care.


Our partners

Strategic partnerships will also enhance the center’s expertise. The center plans to partner with the following organizations that champion women:

Our leadership

Sheila Dugan, MD
Sheila Dugan, MD

Dugan is professor and interim chairperson of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rush Medical College. She has been a leader in the campaign for gender equity at Rush for more than a decade. In 2006, Dugan became a founding member of the first women’s advisory group at Rush, comprised of female physicians and scientists. Read More.

Make a Gift

To learn more about the Center for the Advancement of Women in Health Care or to support this important work, please contact:

Tawanna Streater
(312) 942-6954