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 faculty who volunteered their time to work on issues that affect women.
In the early years, SWIM members were active in addressing issues around maternity leave and childcare. In 1999, senior women faculty, some on SWIM and some not, created a "Bill of Rights" for women faculty and worked on issues related to salary equity; equal access to resources and equal representation by women on important committees. 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.
SWIM became less active in the past decade until recent events at the medical school heightened awareness around issues affecting women. A renewed interest in SWIM has emerged an a new Executive Committee has been created. The dean is now meeting on a regular basis with the Chair and Co-Chair, as well as with the executive committee quarterly.
We encourage anyone who is interested in gender equity to get involved with SWIM.