The purpose of the study was to describe the professional experiences and personal characteristics of academic radiation oncology (RO) chairs and to evaluate whether differences exist by gender.
Anonymous surveys were distributed to 95 chairs of RO departments during the 2016 annual meeting of the Society of Chairs of Academic Radiation Oncology Programs, including 28 closed-ended questions and the Leadership Practices Inventory. Sixty-one men and ten females responded. There were no significant gender differences in age, academic rank, publications, or prior leadership positions held at the time of the first chair appointment, but female respondents held significantly greater total direct funding from extramural grants than their male counterparts. Women were more likely to have spouses employed outside the home at time of their first chair appointment than men were, with a trend toward women experiencing greater difficulty relocating. Men and women identified budgeting and resource allocation as their greatest professional challenges. Most respondents were Caucasian (74%), between the ages of 50-60 years (60%).
Model was the leadership practice most frequently engaged in, followed by Challenge and Encourage, and then Inspire and Enable. No significant differences were found by gender for any of the five leadership practices.