The culture of academic medicine has been described as hierarchical, competitive, and not highly supportive of female or minority faculty. In response to this, the authors designed the Learning Action Network (LAN), which was part of the National Initiative on Gender, Culture and Leadership in Medicine (C-Change). The LAN is a five-school consortium aimed at changing the organizational culture of its constituent institutions. The authors selected LAN schools to be geographically diverse and representative of U.S. medical schools. Institutional leaders and faculty representatives from constituent schools met twice yearly for four years (2006-2010), forming a cross-institutional learning community. Through their quarterly listing of institutional activities, schools reported a wide array of actions. Most common were increased faculty development and/or mentoring, new approaches to communication, and adoption of new policies and procedures. Other categories included data collection/management, engagement of key stakeholders, education regarding gender/diversity, and new/expanded leadership positions. Through exit interviews, most participants reported feeling optimistic about maintaining the momentum of change. However, some, especially in schools with leadership changes, expressed uncertainty. Participants reported that they felt that the LAN enabled, empowered, facilitated, and/or caused the reported actions.For others who might want to work toward changing the culture of academic medicine, the authors offer several lessons learned from their experiences with C-Change. Most notably, people, structures, policies, and reward systems must be put into place to support cultural values, and broad-based support should be created in order for changes to persist when inevitable transitions in leadership occur.
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