Career

Closing the gender gap

Hospitalists address inequity in medicine


 

It wasn’t something she planned to have happen but about 2 years ago, Vineet Arora, MD, MAPP, MHM, became what she calls an “accidental advocate” for gender parity in medicine.

“I was asked to review a paper around gender pay,” the University of Chicago Medical Center hospitalist said. “It was stunning to me just how different salaries were – between male and female physicians – even when the authors were attempting to control for various factors.”

That paper was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in September 2016 by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). It found that even after adjustment for age, experience, specialty, faculty rank, research productivity, and clinical revenue, female physicians at 24 public medical schools in 12 states earned nearly $20,000 less per year than their male colleagues.1

Dr. Arora wrote an editorial to accompany that 2016 paper in JAMA, and in September 2017, she and her colleague at the University of Chicago, Jeanne Farnan, MD, MHPE, coauthored another piece in Annals of Internal Medicine titled, “Inpatient Notes: Gender Equality in Hospital Medicine – Are We There Yet?”2

In the 2017 paper, Dr. Arora and Dr. Farnan assessed recent studies documenting inequity in regard to compensation, discrimination around child-rearing, and gender disparities in medical leadership. They also discussed strategies that might improve the future outlook for female physicians.

“As I approach mid-career, I see these issues affecting my career and my colleagues’ careers and I decided we need to be doing more work in this space,” said Dr. Arora.

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