ACP Paper Calls for Gender Equity in Physician Compensation and Career Advancement

Washington, D.C., April 17, 2018 -- The American College of Physicians (ACP) published a paper today in the Annals of Internal Medicine that examines ways to achieve gender equity in the medical profession. Achieving Gender Equity in Physician Compensation and Career Advancement provides a set of recommendations aimed at addressing the challenges women in medicine face, including equity in physician compensation, career advancement, and bias.

“ACP published this paper to not only highlight the obstacles that our female members face, but also to identify solutions to the very real barriers women in medicine deal with every day,” said Jack Ende, MD, MACP, president, ACP. “As an organization, we are committed to acknowledging, and addressing, the unique challenges female physicians must confront over the course of their careers so that the internal medicine community is able to benefit from the full potential of female physicians in the workforce.”

Promoting gender equity and eliminating the inequities in compensation and career advancement that physicians can face is a longstanding goal of ACP. In order to foster an inclusive environment that promotes growth and development for female physicians, ACP’s paper calls for the adoption of equitable compensation policies in all organizations that employ physicians, investment in leadership development, negotiation and career development programs, and parental and family leave policies.

ACP’s paper makes the following recommendations to achieve equity in physician compensation and advancement:

  • Ensuring that physician compensation is equitable, and that no physician should be penalized for working less than full time.
  • Supporting universal access to family and medical leave policies that provide a minimum period of six weeks leave for physicians, residents and medical students, and recommends that six weeks paid leave become a standard part of any physician or resident's benefit package regardless of gender.
  • Urging all organizations that employ physicians to take steps to increase the number of women in leadership positions.
  • Investing in further research on the impact of gender compensation inequity and barriers to career advancement and best practices to close these gaps across all practice settings.
  • Implementing regular implicit bias training by all organizations that employ physicians.
  • Establishing programs in leadership development, negotiation, and career development for all physicians and physicians in training. 

“While progress has been made to improve gender diversity in the physician workforce, barriers to equity still exist, which is currently proven by the disproportionately low number of female physicians achieving academic advancement and serving in leadership positions,” said Dr. Ende. “The medical and patient communities benefit from a diverse physician workforce, and a concerted effort must be made to eliminate the inequities that exist in compensation and career advancement opportunities.”

ACP’s evidence-based public policy positions are based on reviewed literature and input from the ACP's Board of Governors, Board of Regents, Council of Early Career Physicians, Council of Resident/Fellow Members, Council of Student Members, and Council of Subspecialty Societies and nonmember experts in the relevant field. This paper was developed by ACP's Health and Public Policy Committee, which is charged with addressing issues that affect the health care of the American public and the practice of internal medicine and its subspecialties.

About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 152,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.