Geeta Mehta is pictured in the hospital critical care unit.

In 2018, women make up more than half of medical students. Despite this tremendous progress, women in academic medicine are underrepresented in influential scholarly activities and leadership roles. Dr. Sangeeta Mehta, a Critical Care Physician at Mount Sinai Hospital, is a researcher in gender disparity in critical care medicine, and an advocate for diversity and equity.

In a paper that she led, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in 2017, Sangeeta and her co-authors discuss the lack of diversity – gender and otherwise – on panels assembled to develop clinical practice guidelines in critical care medicine. These guidelines inform and shape clinical care of critically ill patients around the world. The authors make the case that panel member diversity is key for globally relevant guidelines.

The authors note that although the exclusion of women is not necessarily intentional, organizations and individuals need to be proactive and deliberate in promoting gender parity and diversity. “Gender disparity is complex and ingrained—if not encoded—in many spheres of life, in many parts of the world. We must mainstream gender parity and model all forms of diversity,” they write. The authors propose five constructive steps that organizations and individuals can take to promote diversity and gender parity in critical care medicine, including developing diversity policies and training.
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