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Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® Research

Since its inception, ELAM has conducted research on the impact of the program. Research findings inform ongoing continuous quality improvement, enhance program credibility, and contribute to the growing body of scholarship focused on women and leadership.

Results of ELAM research initiatives are published in scholarly journals, as well as other publications. Our ELAM publications page has a complete listing.

Research Objectives

  • Measure impact of ELAM program on participants, longitudinally within group, and in comparison with other faculty groups and leadership programs
  • Measure impact of the ELAM program on schools
  • Build theory on how women define, learn, experience and demonstrate leadership
  • Investigate women's advancement and sustained leadership in academic health centers
  • Establish an evaluation infrastructure that will serve as a model for research and practice in institutional, national and international leadership development programs

Ongoing Research

  • NIH supported research, conducted with University of New Mexico, and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is analyzing the recruitment, retention and promotion of women at academic health centers. In particular, the research considers the impact of three U.S. programs: ELAM and the AAMC's Early and Mid-Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminars.

Completed Research Projects

  • In a study of deans at medical and dental schools in the U.S. and Canada, deans reported that the impact of ELAM alumnae on their schools was positive, that the program was beneficial to the alumnae themselves, and that participation in the program increased eligibility for promotion.
  • In a longitudinal comparison study of ELAM participants, sixteen leadership indicators were considered: administrative leadership attainment (4 indicators), full professor academic rank (1 indicator), leadership competencies and readiness (8 indicators), and leadership aspirations and education (3 indicators). For 15 indicators, ELAM participants scored higher than both other groups. In 12 of the 16 competencies differences between groups were statistically significant.
  • Membership in the ELAM Community of Practice was found to: provide women with a safe and bounded network; overcome the isolation often encountered by women in academic medicine; supply reciprocal mentoring; and function as a vehicle to reach out to other ELAM fellows and alumnae.
  • Self-efficacy was found to be increased by participation in the ELAM program
  • The documented efficacy of the ELAM program in preparing women for leadership roles within academic medicine, dentistry, and public health has led to several publications regarding program design and methods.

Ongoing Data Collection by ELAM Staff

The ELAM database contains one of the most comprehensive records of career progression for women academics in the country. Additionally, pre- and post-fellowship year surveys provide an ongoing assessment of program effectiveness and the impact it has on participants.

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ELAM is a core program of the Institute for Women's Health and Leadership at Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pa. The Institute continues the legacy of advancing women in medicine that began in 1850 with the founding of the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, the nation's first women's medical school and a predecessor of today's Drexel University College of Medicine.