Tenure of academic chairs in obstetrics and gynecology: A 25-year perspective

William F. Rayburn, Ronald M. Schrader, Joanna M. Cain, Raul Artal, Garland D. Anderson, Irwin R. Merkatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To assist in predicting future leadership needs, this longitudinal study examines turnover and net retention rates among chairs at university obstetrics and gynecology departments between 1981 and 2005. METHODS: A database of appointment dates and tenure of chairs at each of 125 Association of American Medical Colleges-approved United States medical schools was collated using membership listings from the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics and from the Council of University Chairs in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Complete data from 118 departments were confirmed by selective correspondence at individual departments and further review by the investigators. RESULTS: A total of 260 individuals (232 men, 28 women) became new chairs between 1981 and 2005. The annual turnover rate increased gradually from 6.0% to 12.7%. Five-year net retention rates remained steady between 1982 and 1997 but dropped after 1997 (85.6% compared with 63.2%; P=.03). A chair's tenure ranged widely (1 to 23 years; median 8 years), regardless of gender or school type, size, or location. Approximately one half of interim chairs became permanent chairs, usually at their own institution. The number of new women chairs increased from none in 1981 to 17 (15.2% of total chairs) in 2005. CONCLUSION: Academic chair positions in obstetrics and gynecology experienced a doubling in annual turnover rates, while retention rates declined. The proportion of chairs occupied by women increased progressively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1217-1221
Number of pages5
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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