Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




women, academic surgery, equity, implicit bias, authentic leadership, appreciative inquiry


In demanding tripartite roles, faculty at Academic Health Sciences Centres provide surgeon training and patient care, while seeking discovery through research and innovation. The persistent imbalance of women in academic surgery has been empirically evident and an intense topic of discussion for decades, yet solutions remain elusive. There has been increasing analysis and scrutiny of the factors affecting women in this domain, while highlighting the disconnect between the current state and our affirmed belief in gender equity in both education and medicine. My Organizational Improvement Plan is focussed on the recognition and resolution of barriers and biases impeding the appointment and promotion of women into faculty and leadership positions in the Department of Surgery at an Ontario University. It will explore the literature; outline theoretical underpinnings (critical theory, feminist theory, social cognition theory); and provide insight into the realm of implicit bias. It will engage authentic and transformative leadership and propose the use of appreciative inquiry as a change implementation framework for an integrated solution. This scholarly work aligns with an overriding public sentiment advocating for change of a social justice nature. Although my doctoral work is limited in scope to women in academic surgery for manageability reasons, it has the potential for scaling and broader application to address inequities that continue to exist for all equity-deserving groups. This is more than the right thing to do. We have a responsibility and obligation in health care and education to pursue equity and social justice.