AMA adopts policy to advance gender equity in medicine

(HealthDay)—The American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates has adopted a new policy to study, act for, and advocate to advance gender equity in medicine, according to a report published in the association’s AMA Wire.

As part of this action, the House of Delegates pledged to advocate policies that promote transparency in defining criteria for physician compensation; advocate pay structures based on objective, gender-neutral criteria; encourage a specified approach for oversight of compensation models, metrics, and actual total compensation; and advocate training to identify and mitigate implicit bias for those in positions to determine salary and bonuses.

The AMA was also directed to draft a report detailing its positions and recommendations for gender equity in medicine, collect and analyze demographic data on the inclusion of women members, and commit to pay equity across organizations. In order to reduce gender bias, the AMA was directed to recommend elimination of the question of prior salary information from job applications, create an awareness campaign to inform physicians of their rights, establish educational programs to empower all genders to negotiate for equitable compensation; and create guidance relating to transparency of compensation for medical schools and health care facilities.

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Gender Bias in Medicine Has Far-Reaching Consequences

FRIDAY, July 13, 2018 — Overlooking women in medicine can have far-reaching consequences, according to a perspective piece published in the June 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Lisa S. Rotenstein, M.D., M.B.A., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Anupam B. Jena, M.D., Ph.D., from Harvard Medical School, both in Boston, examined the potential consequences when women in medicine are slighted, overlooked, or explicitly wronged.

The authors note that in academic medicine, harassment remains common; these issues begin early in training, with negative gender-based experiences reported by preclinical medical students. Disparities continue. Male physicians receive significantly greater compensation and recognition than females; over time, these gaps have not decreased significantly. Other, less obvious slights are also prevalent, with female doctors often assumed by patients to be nurses or other types of caregivers and experiencing more disrespect from nonphysician professionals. In terms of clinical care, hospitalized elderly patients have lower 30-day mortality and readmissions when treated by female physicians; similar positive effects on outcomes have been seen for treatment with female surgeons. Female physicians are more likely to deliver guideline-concordant care. The exclusion of women from certain fields such as urology has consequences for the doctor-patient relationship, especially in specialties addressing sensitive topics. En masse, exclusion of women from the upper echelons of medicine may have real implications for patient care.

“Perhaps emphasizing these consequences will bolster efforts to ensure respectful and fair workplaces for female physicians,” the authors write.

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Posted: July 2018

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