In 1975, Dean Robert Berliner formed the Committee on the Status of Women in the School of Medicine (SWIM). This Committee was charged to work closely with the Office for Women in Medicine (also started in 1975) to evaluate on an ongoing basis the status of women in the School. It served in an advisory capacity to the Dean on issues regarding status of women in the School. The Committee was composed of women and men from all levels of the medical school, from medical students to house staff to faculty, both junior and senior. The major concerns of the Committee at that time were following issues: academic development of junior women faculty, retention and promotion, salary equity, the process of promotion, the fostering of the development of junior faculty careers, child care and security.
In addition to the efforts of SWIM, the senior women faculty began meeting in 2000 to discuss issues of equity in relation to salary, space and resources, and infrastructure/climate. These issues were discussed with then Dean David Kessler, who responded by appointing a Commission on Women Faculty to study and address these issues. The Report of the Commission was completed as Dean Kessler was leaving YSM, and the recommendations were subsequently considered when a national search resulted in the appointment of a new Dean. In 2005, in response to part of the recommendations from the Commission, the Dean named the first director of faculty development and equity. This position is currently held by Linda Bockenstedt, the Harold W. Jockers Professor of Medicine (Rheumatology).