12 Jul Women in Academic Medicine: Less Pay and Fewer Promotions
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Nosheen Reza, MD, FACC, FHFSA
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
Penn Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease
Section of Advanced Heart Failure, Transplantation, and Mechanical Support
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania &
the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: In academic internal medicine in the United States, gender disparities in salary and promotion have been researched and documented for over 20 years. Despite this, in recent years, the number of women pursuing careers in medicine has increased, and now, more women than men are enrolled in U.S. medical schools. We wanted to take a contemporary look at the composition of the U.S. academic internal medicine physician workforce and evaluate the relationships between the representation of women in each internal medicine specialty with their salaries and academic rank.
We hypothesized that even though there may be more women physicians practicing in these specialties compared with prior years, the disparities in academic rank and salary, as compared with men, would still exist.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: We found that women only occupy about a quarter of the positions at the highest academic ranks — Professor and Chief. We also found that women were paid lower salaries than men in 90% of faculty rank positions across 13 internal medicine specialties and that the salary disparities between women and men are largest in the specialties in which there are the fewest women physicians (i.e., Cardiology, Critical/Intensive Care, Gastroenterology). Despite the growing awareness of workforce disparities in medicine, our findings suggest that women internal medicine specialists remain underpaid and are not promoted to senior level academic ranks when compared with career trajectories of their male counterparts.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Despite the growing numbers of women trainees and physicians in the U.S., significant gender-based disparities in salary and promotion in academic Internal Medicine specialties continue to exist. Our findings underscore the urgent need to institute systematic changes to eliminate gender-based workforce disparities in academic internal medicine in the U.S.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Academic medicine leadership and governing bodies must continue to collect sex-disaggregated data regarding recruitment, retention, remuneration, and promotion and make these data freely available.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had disproportionately negative impacts on the professional development and advancement of women physicians in the U.S., as compared with men, and the downstream effects of these workplace inequities must be rigorously studied.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: We must work together to rectify these gaps and ensure a diverse, inclusive, and equitable future for the practice of medicine in the United States.
Disclosures: Dr. Reza is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number KL2TR001879. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Wang T, Douglas PS, Reza N. Gender Gaps in Salary and Representation in Academic Internal Medicine Specialties in the US. JAMA Intern Med. Published online July 12, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.3469