Journal of Wellness


The authors received no specific funding for this work

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare for this work


Introduction: Women physicians experience challenges in career advancement, work-life integration (WLI), and wellness. Participation (attending and speaking) at academic conferences is one way for women physicians to advance their careers, but barriers to physical participation (travel, WLI) pose challenges. Virtual participation options may enhance career advancement. In this pilot study, we explored women physicians’ conference participation patterns and preferences regarding virtual participation options.

Methods: In this cross-sectional pilot study of 70 women physicians from the Physician Women in Leadership (PWL) and Physician Moms Group (PMG) Facebook groups, we collected demographic, burnout, and WLI data, information on barriers to in-person conference participation, and attitudes regarding virtual participation options.

Results: Fifty-eight (85.3%) respondents reported challenges with attending and 36 (72%) with speaking at conferences in person. Challenges most cited included: childcare difficulties (42, 66.7%; 24, 61.5% for attendees and speakers, respectively) and WLI issues (41, 65.1%; 28, 71.8%). Sixty (87%) respondents wanted an option for virtual attendance and 39 (81.3%) wanted an option for virtual speaking. We found no significant association between women who reported higher levels of burnout or more WLI difficulties and likelihood of reporting challenges with conference participation.

Conclusion: Women physicians reported challenges with traveling to attend/speak at in-person conferences. The majority expressed support for virtual attendance and/or presentation options. Future studies should examine these themes in detail and future policy resolutions could advocate for virtual conference participation as an option to reduce barriers to conference participation for women physicians.





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