With the Stern-Gattiker Prize, launched in 2018, the SAMS is making female role models more visible, so as to motivate young women to pursue an academic career. The prize, which carries an award of CHF 15,000, is named after two women with distinguished medical careers: Lina Stern (1878 – 1968), a Russian emigrant who was in 1918 the first woman to hold a professorship at the Faculty of Medicine in Geneva, and Ruth Gattiker (1923 – 2021), who in the 1970s was among the first female professors appointed at the Faculty of Medicine in Zurich.
In Switzerland, around 10 per cent of medical graduates pursue an academic career; this group includes significantly fewer women than men, even though women now account for almost 60 per cent of all medical students. Only 10 to 15 per cent of professorships in medicine are currently held by women. To ensure that sufficient medical scientists are available over the medium and longer term, more women will need to pursue a career in academic medicine.
An Oxford University study explored the question of why, when entry to medical schools is evenly split between men and women, those working in university medical departments are predominantly men. One of the main factors cited was a lack of role models for women. This provides the rationale for the Stern-Gattiker Prize, which is to be awarded every two years to a female medical scientist who:
- has obtained her postdoctoral qualification within the past ten years,
- holds a permanent position as a senior hospital physician, and
- is suitable, for reasons to be explained in each case, to act as a role model.
The proximity to young doctors and the commitment to gender equality are a plus.
Last prize winners (2020)
The most recent laureates are the two professors Sophie de Seigneux Matthey (Genève) and Sara C. Meyer (Basel).
Nominations may be submitted either by individuals (in particular, female junior and senior physicians), by several people or by institutions. Institutional nominations must be signed by the management. Self-nomination is not possible. Members of the SAMS Senate are not eligible.
Next deadline for submissions is in spring 2022.
Information on the documents required can be found in the online registration form, which will be available again at the beginning of 2022.