Gender Pay Gap for Academic Physicians

by Adrienne Mueller, PhD
June 29, 2022

Although the representation of women in medicine has been steadily increasing, female physicians and surgeons still earn 74 cents to the dollar compared to men. In a study recently published in the British Medical Journal, the labs of Claudia Mueller, MD and Y. Katherine Bianco, MD compared the factors that contribute to salary differences between men and women pursuing careers in academic medicine.

Men receive higher compensation than women across all professorial ranks.

By looking at academic faculty salary data from six different public institutions in the Western US, Hayley Miller, MD et al compared several specific factors contributing to salary gaps: including gender, academic rank, and research impact as determined by investigators’ publications and citations. As predicted, compensation was significantly higher for men across all professorial ranks. Notably, the baseline compensation was the same for both male and female professors, therefore these disparities in salary are caused by differences in supplemental income, such as additional clinical responsibilities and leadership positions. Notably, higher research impact was not associated with higher supplemental income. This study suggests that future investigations – and interventions – into gender-based salary gaps should focus on differences in supplemental income that may preferentially benefit men.

Additional Stanford Cardiovascular Institute-affiliated investigators who contributed to this study include Elizabeth Seckel and Erika Rubesova.

Dr. Hayley Miller

Dr. Claudia Mueller

Dr. Y. Katherine Bianco