Gender disparities in medical careers - in position, pay and publishing - start early, but even small systemic changes in training programs could begin to narrow these gaps, says a group of Harvard Medical School doctors.

They noticed a difference at their hospital in how often male and female trainee doctors, known as residents, were recognized by the training program for achievements like having an article published or receiving an award. When the program made small changes to ensure accomplishments were publicized equally, the results were welcomed by both male and female trainees, the authors of an opinion piece write in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Women are less likely to become full professors and receive lower salaries than their male counterparts. Although current trainees and faculty realize this, many in the forward-thinking residency program thought such disparities were a relic of past, Rotenstein and her colleagues write.

The authors had originally noticed that informal email “shout-outs” sent from the residency program director about recent publications more often highlighted the work of male residents. Work by female colleagues also wasn’t discussed as much informally among residents.

In response, the residency program’s administrative staff created a systematic search for resident publications each month in the medical literature and the popular press. They also developed an online form that residents could use to notify the office about their own publications. The program director emailed the results to all residents monthly.

Read the full article about gender disparities by Carolyn Crist at Reuters.