Academic Careers and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Reversing the Tide

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, academic medical centers across the United States have limited in-person operations since March 2020. A recent study featuring Senior Scholar Meghan B. Lane-Fall, MD, MSHP, FCCM, Senior Scholar Eugenia South, MD, MSPH, and Internal Advisory Board Member Risa Lavisso-Mourey, MD, MBA evaluated the effect these initiatives have taken on the research enterprise.

Overall, research faculty have cited a 24% decrease in productivity since the start of the pandemic. Female researchers with children have been adversely affected, reporting a 35-45% decrease in productivity. Moreover, the pandemic has further exacerbated institutional hurdles faced by underrepresented minority researchers, such as fewer sponsorship opportunities than their white counterparts. Additionally, underrepresented minority researchers have been enlisted on the pandemic frontlines more than white researchers. Financial damages have been significant, as research programs in the United States suffered pandemic-related losses ranging from $2,000 to $100,000. The team concludes that, in the future, academic medical centers should utilize available resources to “prevent the negative consequences on science and medicine that come with the attrition of diverse members of the academic community.”

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