Gender Gap Exists in Physician Researchers' Salaries

Males earn significantly more even after adjusting for specialty, publications, academic rank

TUESDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- A survey of mid-career academic physician researchers shows that gender differences in salary exist even after adjusting for differences in specialty, institutional characteristics, academic productivity, academic rank, and work hours, according to a study published in the June 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

To assess whether salaries differ by gender among a relatively homogeneous cohort of physician researchers, Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues surveyed 1,729 physician recipients of the National Institutes of Health K08 and K23 career development awards from 2000 to 2003.

For the 800 physicians still practicing at U.S. academic institutions, the researchers found the mean salary to be $167,669 for women and $200,433 for men. Even after adjusting for variables, including specialty, academic rank, leadership positions, publications, and research time, male gender was associated with a significantly higher salary (+$13,399; P = 0.001). Based on additional analysis, assuming women retained their other measured characteristics, the expected average salary if they were male would be $12,194 higher than observed.

"Efforts to investigate the mechanisms by which these gender differences develop and ways to mitigate their effects merit continued attention, as these differences have not been eliminated through the passage of time alone and are difficult to justify," the authors write.

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