Women in Medicine

Women in Medicine

Women make up more than 50% of medical school students. Yet, only slightly more than 30% of the US physician workforce are women. That differs from other countries.

With looming physician shortages across the U.S., it makes sense to address extra career barriers common to women physicians. Equal pay, respectful treatment, greater visibility and meaningful support for family responsibilities could go a long way to help.

In addition, the barriers to female physicians translates into disparate outcomes for female patients. The issues are:

  1. Equal pay. Here's how to close the gender pay gap.
  2. Abuse and assault.
  3. Childcare and family issues.
  4. The glass ceiling.
  5. Women have long faced historical and socio-demographic barriers to receiving and accessing care, with studies showing that women are less likely to have their symptoms taken serious or be given an accurate diagnosis. They are also under represented in clinical research trials.
  6. Differing practice patterns between male and female physicians.
  7. Bias and discrimination.
  8. Family and maternity leave policies.
  9. Burn out, depression and suicide.
  10. Lack of gender diversity in many specialties.
  11. Women physician entrepreneurs have a harder time finding money.
  12. Women's health innovation benefits from a female perspective. Most healthcare decisions are made by women.

Filling these gaps starts with changing the mindset and culture of medical education and training, the business model of medical practice and corporate human resources practices and benefits. Here's the case from the old white guy perspective.

It's not just the equitable thing to do. It's good for business too.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs.

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  • Daniel Schwartz

    Eye opening read

  • Eric Allen

    We need more women in medicine

  • Michael Doucas

    Perhaps medicine is too stressful and some women can't handle the stress

  • Bobby Georgiev

    It's time to provide equal opportunities

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Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Former Contributor

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org. He has created several medical device and digital health companies. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization. He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism -- nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures. He is a former Harvard-Macy fellow and In 2010, he completed a Fulbright at Kings Business, the commercialization office of technology transfer at Kings College in London. He recently published "Building the Case for Biotechnology." "Optical Detection of Cancer", and " The Life Science Innovation Roadmap". He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. In addition, He is a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School where he teaches Biomedical Entrepreneurship and is an iCorps participant, trainer and industry mentor. He is the Chief Medical Officer at www.bridgehealth.com and www.cliexa.com and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at www.globalminded.org, a non-profit at risk student success network. He is honored to be named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 and nominated in 2012 and Best Doctors 2013.

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