Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bioethics/Health Policy Club: Gender Pay Gap in Medicine, 12-1pm on 9/12 in Learning Studio

Hello everyone!

The Bioethics/Health Policy Club, in collaboration with the Women in Medicine Club, invites you to attend our first discussion of the year on the topic of the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine. This event will be held on Thursday, 9/12 from 12-1pm in the Learning Studio. A limited amount of pizza and cookies will be provided to attendees.

We are honored to have the presence of two faculty experts on the issue at this event: Dr. Susan Pollart, who works on women's issues at the AAMC, and Dr. Sharon Hostler, who serves on UVA's Committee on Women in Medicine.

Subject areas that we hope to cover include the evidence for a pay gap, the proposed explanations for a pay gap, and solutions to the pay gap. Please join us for a respectful and informative discussion on this important issue!


The Bioethics/Health Policy Club
Austin Sim, Mazvita Simoyi, Danielle Carroll, Long Vinh

The Women in Medicine Club
Molly Davis, Melissa Ogden, Olivia Moskowitz, Veronica Sudekum

Hi everyone,

This is just a friendly reminder that the Bioethics/Health Policy Club and the 1920 Society will be hosting a discussion on the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine from 12-1pm in the Learning Studio tomorrow, 9/12. We will be joined by Drs. Susan Pollart and Sharon Hostler, and limited pizza and cookies will be available for attendees.

In preparation for this discussion, we recommend reviewing two articles related to the issue:
1. JAMA: Trends in the Earnings of Male and Female Health Care Professionals in the United States, 1987 to 2010 (Sep 2013)
2. Health Affairs: The $16,819 Pay Gap For Newly Trained Physicians: The Unexplained Trend Of Men Earning More Than Women (Feb 2011)

(If you don't have time to read anything else, take a quick look at the Discussion section of the Health Affairs article, which may surprise you).
Lastly, if you're interested in bioethics and/or health policy, want a copy of notes from the meeting, or wish to be notified of future smaller-scale events like Bioethics Bar Nights, let me know and I'll add you to our email list.



  1. Gender Pay Gap Discussion Notes - 9/12/13

    What is the overall pay gap?
    - 82 cents/dollar, EXCEPT in: bookkeeping, auditing

    Starting neurosurgery assistant professor salary = 440k
    Starting family med assistant professor salary = 166k

    Regarding salary negotiations:
    Have you looked at your benchmarks? Do you understand what you're going to ask for?
    How often do you negotiate for anything?
    - Tip: Ask for a raise based on the search costs of recruitment
    -- See AAMC Data Services website for information on total compensation by specialty

    What's a 5% difference in salary, really?
    - Makes a significant difference at retirement (lifetime earnings)

    Why do you think there is a pay gap?
    - Male vs female roles and expectations? For example, women being expected to take on the roles of caregivers, maintaining the home
    - Assertiveness in men being rewarded vs penalized in women (in terms of promotions and raises)
    - Women choosing not to pursue tenure track ("not now")
    - Stereotyping starting early on (e.g. rough play and risk-taking with a male infant, associating men with science, football)
    - Lack of transparency in salaries (e.g. not knowing what your colleagues make and therefore being unable to compare and know you’re getting shorted)
    - Explicit malice ("Are men trying to keep us down?") vs common interests/social factors, implicit bias, or mentoring

    What are the solutions?
    * Implicit bias
    - Example given of women auditioning for the orchestra behind a curtain gaining more spots
    - Some biases will help you (e.g. in your differentials) but others will hurt you
    -- Therefore be aware of them, start by taking the Harvard Implicit Bias test (
    * Mentoring
    - A peer network is important for support
    - Senior mentors can help you navigate opportunities e.g. research and career paths
    -- If you're not satisfied with the available networks, consider how to change it

  2. # # # Further questions/notes # # #
    JAMA article's key question-- "are unadjusted earnings differences between male and female physicians due to a preference of female physicians for lower-paying specialties (eg, pediatrics or primary care) or do female physicians have less opportunity to enter higher paying specialties despite having similar preferences as male physicians?"

    Health Affairs article (interesting to compare these explanations to the ones discussed at the meeting)--
    Discrimination: "Given that rapid changes in family status probably did not drive our findings, one hypothesis is that women face gender discrimination in the physician labor market in spite of the evolving role of women in the physician workforce. Although this hypothesis cannot be proved or disproved based on our data, it would be difficult to believe that discrimination, after a period of quiescence, has actually been on the rise in recent years."

    Unobserved Aspects of Female Physician's Jobs: "It is possible that the continued influx of women into medicine has reached a tipping point, and physician practices may now be offering greater flexibility and family-friendly attributes that are more appealing to female practitioners but that come at the price of commensurately lower pay...Such an explanation not only is consistent with the pattern observed in the data, but it also suggests that the continued integration of women into the physician workforce is reshaping the practice and business of medicine in ways that need to be measured by variables that are more subtle and comprehensive than salary."

    Employment Negotiations: "we are unwilling to accept the theory that women have become worse negotiators in recent years. It is more likely that women are increasingly paying attention to family considerations as well as salary and advancement potential in their negotiations...Thus, instead of being penalized because of their gender, female physicians may be seeking out employment arrangements that compensate them in other—nonfinancial—ways, and more employers may be beginning to offer such arrangements."


  3. Link to Gender Pay Gap Handouts 9-12-13: