At Top Medical Journals, Women Are Gaining Ground -- Slowly

Liz Neporent

August 16, 2019

When the New England Journal of Medicine announced its new editor-in-chief in June, it chose to continue with a man for the post. In their 208-year history, the journal has had one top female editor, Marcia Angell, MD. She held the title for 1 year, from 1999 to 2000.

Angell was the first woman to helm a major medical publication, though Suzanne Fletcher, MD, shared the position at the Annals of Internal Medicine with her husband, Robert Fletcher, MD, from 1990 to 1993.



Now that women make up a little more than half of the current medical school class, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the times they are a changing, though not at the same pace everywhere.

As this graphic illustrates, the Journal of the American Medical Association was helmed by Catherine DeAngelis, MD, from 2000 to 2011; Fiona Godlee, MD, has run the BMJ since 2005; and the Annals of Internal Medicine appointed Christine Laine, MD, to its highest spot in 2009. Another prestigious medical journal, the Lancet, has never had a female editor-in-chief.

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