Women in Healthcare Leadership Project


Although today’s healthcare workforce is predominantly female, women in the field continue to experience career advancement problems and remain significantly under-represented in chief executive officer (CEO) positions. For example, ACHE’s periodic survey indicates that women represent only 12% of CEOs and this percentage has not changed much recently. While this data may be limited, it is supported by other studies that suggest women are underrepresented in senior executive positions. Despite the apparent challenges, however, some women have successfully ascended into top executive positions in healthcare. The goal of this project is to expand the knowledge base of how to most efficiently increase the number of women in executive roles by studying career inflection points for successful women executives. 

The NCHL team first examines secondary data to identify women healthcare executives who are in hospital or system executive positions and categorizes each individual leader by the density of other female executives in their respective geographic region. Then, using qualitative research techniques (semi-structured interviews), this project explores the critical career inflection points of successful women healthcare executives. 

In today’s complex work environment, healthcare organizations need leaders as diverse and dynamic as the communities they serve. In order to eliminate the gender disparities in the top executive positions it is imperative to understand the critical career inflection points and develop organizational strategies that positively impact the trajectories of women healthcare executives. 

For more information on the Women in Healthcare Leadership project, please contact Christy Lemak at clemak@nchl.org

Sponsored by a grant from Hospira.

Download Critical Career Inflection Points for Women Healthcare Executives from the March 2013 ACHE Congress on Healthcare Leadership.

Women in Healthcare Leadership Advisory Council


Gayle Capozzalo
Yale New Haven Health System

Joan Evans
Cone Health

Paula Lantz, PhD
The George Washington University

Kathryn McDonagh, PhD, RN

Michele Molden
Piedmont Healthcare

Janice Dreachslin, PhD
Penn State Great Valley