Throughout her career, Dr. Molly Carnes has worked to make STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine) fields more diverse and academic culture more inclusive. She and Dr. Jo Handelsman co-founded the Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute (WISELI) in the College of Engineering in 2001, and Dr. Carnes now co-directs WISELI with Dr. Amy Wendt. Since 2004, WISELI has administered the Wisconsin Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (WiscAMP), a National Science Foundation grant directed by Dr. Gail Coover. This project has doubled the number of racial/ethnic minority undergraduate students graduating with a STEMM major in a statewide consortium of Wisconsin colleges and universities.
Activities and Impacts
Dr. Carnes has been leading the Bias Reduction in Internal Medicine Initiative (BRIM) since 2017. Now wellunderwayy, this 19-site cluster-randomized study, funded by the National Institute of Health, is testing whether a Breaking the Bias Habit workshop changes self-reported measures of bias-reducing behaviors and improves department climate. As of April 2020, Dr. Carnes and her WISELI colleagues, Drs. Jennifer Sheridan and Eve Fine, have traveled to 14 of the 19 participating medical schools to deliver this 3-hour workshop to sub-specialty divisions in the Departments of Medicine.
As part of BRIM, Dr. Carnes and her colleagues have developed a web-based course to train up to 12 faculty and staff at each of the 19 participating sites so that they may deliver the Breaking the Bias Habit workshop themselves. This work allows BRIM to have a broad and deep impact, enabling approximately 200 people in academic medicine around the country to help faculty overcome stereotype-based implicit biases in their judgment, decision-making, and interactions with colleagues, trainees, and patients.
Dr. Carnes has also worked with Anna Heffron and Kat Braun, two trainees in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health to study the impact of gender on how students experience training in this program. Results from this work will soon be published in the Journal of Women’s Health.
Other published works include a report in the Journal of the National Medical Association (March 2020) on discrimination experienced by physicians of color in the United States, showing the negative personal and career consequences of such experiences; as well as a commentary in press in the journal Academic Medicine, cautioning that gender inequality – particularly society’s deeming of women’s lesser status – will adversely impact whole fields of medicine as their workforce becomes predominately female-led.
In addition to finishing the BRIM Initiative, Dr. Carnes will be working with WISELI colleagues to develop an anti-bias training for reviewers of scientific proposals.