STUDIES HIGHLIGHT GENDER, RACIAL INEQUALITIES IN THE MEDICAL PROFESSION

September 21, 2019

Did you know that minorities and women pursuing medical careers are known to face more barriers to progress? This is the case for both – in their training process and later on in their careers.

 

Less Experienced Right out of Training

According to a study conducted by Dr. Julie Boiko in the University of California, it was found that women were underrepresented by speakers during the grand rounds. These are presentations that are conducted by the most esteemed doctors for medical institutions and their teams.

“Speaker selections convey messages of ‘this is what a leader looks like,’ and women’s visibility in prestigious academic venues may subconsciously affect women’s desires to pursue academic medicine,” Boiko’s team warns during JAMA Internal Medicine.

Another study in the same issue found that these minorities and women were actually considered to be much less experienced right out of training. After Arjun Dayal from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine looked at about 33,456 evaluations for doctors-in-training and residents, he found that both male and female were scored similarly during residency. The difference, however, rose when they had ended their training.

After 3 years of training, male doctors had been judged at about an average of 13% higher attainment levels as opposed to their female counterparts. “We saw this across all the levels of competencies,” said Dayal. “Female physicians were receiving poorer evaluations whether they were diagnosing a patient or fulfilling physically demanding tasks.”

 

Racial Inequalities in the Medical Profession

In comparison to White students in medical universities, it was found that Black students had about 84% lesser odds of becoming an Alpha Omega Alpha member. Asian students experienced the same but with a lower force standing at 48% lower odds.

In an example from 2016, you may be able to grasp the attitudes and stereotypes set by people in an unconscious manner. When an airplane passenger became ill while sitting next to Dr. Molly Cooke – who is an African American physician, the crew members simply rejected her assistance.

“What happened to Tamika Cross on Delta flight DL945 in October was terrible,” wrote Cooke. “However, it is not exclusively the fault of the nonmedical world.” What Cooke meant here was that the source of all the inequalities was present in the medical world itself.

 

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