Women were majority of medical school entrants for 2nd straight year
- For the first time in more than a decade, women this year made up the majority of applicants to medical schools, and for the second-straight year they comprised more than half of new enrollees, according to new data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
- The number of black applicants and enrollees rose by 4% and 4.6%, respectively, year over year. Notably, the number of black male enrollees increased by 7.3% for the period after several years of minimal growth or declines.
- AAMC projects a shortage of as many as 121,300 physicians by 2030, though it notes the number of medical school applicants has increased by 57% and the number enrolled by more than 31% since 2002. It also reported 26 medical schools have opened in the last decade.
AAMC's report comes as the number of women attending college is on the rise, but they tend to borrow more than men and make less after graduation, according to an August 2018 report from The Chronicle of Higher Education. Women with a bachelor's degree, on average, made roughly $42,000 per year while male graduates made just over $62,000. The report suggested that to earn an equivalent salary to a man, a woman must obtain one degree beyond what he has.
Women with a doctorate in life sciences fields made around $72,000 annually in their first job post-graduation while men made about $6,000 more, according to The Chronicle. The disparity was similar in other STEM careers.
The growing number of female med school applicants and enrollees is significant for other reasons, too. A study published recently in the Journal of Hospital Medicine shed light on the experiences of women in medicine, who tend to enter the field at a time when many are also inclined to start a family. Although nearly half (47%) of practitioners in hospital medicine are women, the report noted that many women say they have trouble getting parental leave and appropriate accommodations to breastfeed at work.
The University of Maryland School of Medicine recently announced it will take significant steps to improve gender diversity. It will appoint at least six women to leadership positions, including chief operating officer, senior associate dean for medical student education and associate dean for medical student admissions. It also created a Dean's Advisory Committee on Cultural Transformation to asses progress on these efforts and a senior-level position to oversee initiatives related to improving the school's culture.
The announcement follows a lawsuit filed by a former staff member against the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and its School of Medicine. It claims officials failed to act in response to her complaint that she was sexually harassed by a surgeon at the University of Maryland Medical Center who is also a professor at the School of Medicine.
- Association of American Medical Colleges Women Were Majority of U.S. Medical School Applicants in 2018