Closing the gender gap


Being taken seriously

Expectations around gender norms may also affect relationships female doctors have with their patients. In a June 2017 Washington Post editorial, Faye Reiff-Pasarew, MD, describes being objectified as “cute” and “adorable” and not being taken seriously by her patients.4

“I’d had a number of interactions with patients that upset me,” said Dr. Reiff-Pasarew, assistant professor of hospital medicine, director of the humanism in medicine program, and unit medical director at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. “Later, I reflected upon them and realized that bias was a systemic problem. There needs to be a conversation amongst the broader medical community about the effect that these biases have on our patients and our practice.”

In her editorial, Dr. Reiff-Pasarew explained that when a female physician is written off as too young or is not recognized as a physician, it can delay necessary care. She also touches on the challenge of earning the trust of hospitalized patients.

“There’s a lot of evidence that the success of medical therapy is influenced by the context in which it is given, beyond mere adherence to a regimen or medication,” Dr. Reiff-Pasarew said, noting that it is a result of “the very powerful placebo effect.

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