What is the Difference Between Male and Female Cardiologist Work Compensation and Activities?

There is a "substantial salary difference" between male and female practicing cardiologists, as well as a difference in job activities, according to results of a study presented Nov. 8 during AHA 2015 in Orlando and simultaneously published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The study looked at 2,679 subjects – 229 female and 2,450 male – reported by MedAxiom from 161 U.S. practices in 2013. Results showed that women in the sample would have been expected to have a mean salary that was $31,749 higher than actually observed. Further, women are more likely to specialize in general/non-invasive cardiology (53.1 percent vs. 28.2 percent); the proportion of women working full-time is less than men (79.9 percent vs. 90.9 percent); and men generated a median 9,301 relative value unit, while women generated 7,430.

"This is the first study to show that although men and women cardiologists share the same specialty, they have markedly different job descriptions," said Pamela Douglas, MD, MACC, senior author of the study. She adds that this topic is important "because we as a profession are not having full access to our 'talent pool' of qualified internal medicine residents. That becomes a business and health care issue, as we increasingly recognize the importance of diversity among providers to optimizing patient care," she explains.

In a corresponding editorial comment by Mark A. Hlatky, MD, FACC, and Leslee Shaw, PhD, FACC, they note that, "The reasons for these very different career choices ought to be explored further, and we need to understand whether women physicians are repelled from cardiology, or simply attracted to other fields. Perhaps more attention to work-life balance in cardiology would make it more attractive to women, and better for us all."

"This is an important study that affects the cardiovascular profession as a whole," adds ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC. "We need to pay special attention to this issue and I encourage organizations and institutions to develop strategies that will locally evaluate and mitigate these differences. This is an opportunity for everyone to stop and reflect on their compensation practices."

Keywords: AHA Annual Scientific Sessions, Career Choice, Female, Physicians, Physicians, Women

< Back to Listings