Female physicians and the future of endocrinology

Elaine Pelley, Ann Danoff, David S. Cooper, Carolyn Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Context: Given that approximately 70% of current endocrinology fellows are women, female physicians will compose the majority of the future endocrinology workforce. This gender shift partly reflects an apparent waning of interest in endocrinology among male trainees. It also coincides with a projected shortage of endocrinologists overall. Female physicians face unique challenges in the workplace. To continue to attract trainees to the specialty and support their success, it is imperative that these challenges be recognized, understood, and addressed. Evidence Acquisition: A PubMed search using the terms "female physician" and "physician gender" covering the years 2000â€"2015 was performed. Additional references were identified through review of the citations of the retrieved articles. The following topics were identified as key to understanding the impact of this gender shift: professional satisfaction, work-life balance, income, parenthood, academic success, and patient satisfaction. Evidence Synthesis: Several changes can be predicted to occur as endocrinology becomes a femalepredominant specialty. Although professional satisfaction should remain stable, increased burnout rates are likely. Work-life balance challenges will likely be magnified. The combined effects of occupational gender segregation and a gender pay gap are predicted to negatively impact salaries of endocrinologists of both genders. The underrepresentation of women in academic leadership may mean a lesser voice for endocrinology in this arena. Finally, gender biases evident in patient satisfaction measuresâ€"commonly used as proxies for quality of careâ€"may disproportionately impact endocrinology. Conclusions: Endocrinology is predicted to become the most female-predominant subspecialty of internal medicine. The specialty of endocrinology should take a lead role in advocating for changes that support the success of female physicians. Strengthening and supporting the physician workforce can only serve to attract talented physicians of both genders to the specialty, which will be key to meeting the needs of the increasing numbers of patients with endocrine disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Volume101
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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