Feature | Why Young Women Should #ChooseCardiology

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The number of women in cardiology has failed to keep up with the number of women in medicine. As medicine residencies approach more than 50 percent of women in training, female fellows in cardiology remain 20 percent at best.

A 2009 physician workforce survey published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed most cardiologist — even female cardiologists — have high job satisfaction and would choose cardiology as a subspecialty again.

With that study in mind, it was alarming when a 2018 study of medicine residents published in JAMA Cardiology revealed that there are many negative perceptions of cardiology as a career choice such as adverse job conditions, interference with family life and lack of diversity. Women and residents who avoided cardiology valued work-life balance and had higher negative perceptions of cardiology than men or residents who chose cardiology as a subspecialty.

As a female who chose cardiology back in 1991, I have loved being a cardiologist and would still not consider anything else. I married (just celebrated 25 years of marriage) and had two well-adjusted adult children (who have both chosen medical-related fields), all while working five days a week in a busy private cardiology practice. Organization, lots of help, an amazing husband, supportive family and some compromises in my career allowed me to achieve work-life balance.

My career has been rewarding, invigorating and successful by my own personal standards. My female colleagues also agree that general cardiology or its subspecialty is a great career option for women and we all whole-heartedly encourage young women in high school, college and medical school, as well as residents, to #ChooseCardiology.

The ACC Women in Cardiology Section has invited women in residency, fellowship and early career to share why they would #ChooseCardiology again. If you are in training, we hope you are encouraged to consider cardiology for your career.

Even more important, if you are a practicing cardiologist, please send the message to residents that cardiology is a wonderful, interesting, patient-focused and rewarding specialty that allows work-life balance and joy in medicine!

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This article was authored by Gina P. Lundberg, MD, FACC, clinical director of the Emory Women's Heart Center and associate professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Marietta, GA.