A new survey of nearly 3,000 doctors in 10 states found that more women are practicing medicine than men, with many doctors saying that their gender played a role in why they did so.
“It’s a very difficult industry to be in,” said Dr. John J. Bovey, a University of North Carolina assistant professor of pediatrics and health policy and management.
“You need a lot of diversity in your ranks, and in the medical field, it’s almost always male.”
In North Carolina, a state with a strong tradition of physician-led women’s medical schools, more than one in four doctors surveyed said their gender influenced how they practiced medicine.
That includes nearly half of all women and half of those who are women but not practicing medicine.
And the gender gap is even wider in some other states.
In Utah, about half of the doctors surveyed reported being female, and nearly half said their job requires them to be attentive to gender issues.
But women are less likely to be the focus of the profession in places like Texas, where a survey in May found that the number of female doctors was at an all-time low.
“When we were at the top of the list, the number that was the focus was women, and they were the focus,” said Laura M. Dallenbach, a professor of health policy at the University of Texas-Austin.
“But now we’re at the bottom.
It’s the most diverse profession in the country, and there’s no reason for it to be that way.”
For some of the most influential women in the field, this diversity has helped shape the way they approach patient care.
In New Hampshire, where there are fewer than half as many doctors as there are women, Dallensbach said it’s easy to get lost in the numbers.
“There’s a lot more diversity among the women physicians than there is among the men, and that’s a good thing,” she said.
The New Hampshire survey, conducted by the Concord Monitor, asked doctors about the roles they played in patient care and the types of services they delivered.
The survey also asked doctors how they feel about gender-specific roles in medicine and how they felt about their own health.
Overall, about 40 percent of respondents reported having at least one female relative, and about 15 percent had more than two female relatives.
For women, the proportion who had more female relatives varied from 10 to 40 percent.
“We can say with a high degree of confidence that the role of the relative has a large impact on the way that you treat patients,” said Barbara Kastelmann, a medical epidemiologist at the National Center for Health Statistics.
“Women are often the primary caregivers and primary caregivers are often seen as more caring than men.”
Kastenmann and her colleagues analyzed data from the NHMRC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a national data set that collects data on health behaviors.
They found that women are more likely than men to report that they are not satisfied with their health, that they suffer from depression or anxiety and that they have difficulty sleeping.
There are a number of reasons for these health disparities, Kastena said.
“I think the most likely reason is that women have more difficulty accessing the health care system,” she added.
Kasteningmann said it is important to address these issues in the future, especially as women get older.
“One of the things that we’re seeing is that it’s becoming a very important issue in the public health,” she explained.
“This is really a health issue that needs to be addressed and addressed now.”
The New England Journal of Medicine has more on health disparities and the role that gender plays in health care.