Looking back on the history of medicine and physicians, it has always been a field dominated by male physicians. This links back to female independence and autonomy, which kept (and continues to keep) women out of high paying jobs as well as highly respected positions. Over the years, the ratio of male physicians to female physicians have slowly started to change in the favor of women. For the first time, the percentage of future female physicians enrolling in medical schools in the US is higher than the number of men. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) shared brand new research. It reflects that future female physicians are now dominating US medical schools.
The AAMC shared that they are glad to see this information and that the field is becoming more inclusive. The AAMC takes the stand that there is still a lot of work to do when improving diversity in the healthcare industry, but this is a step in the right direction. Medscape reports that “Women made up 50.7% of the 21,338 new enrollees in 2017.” This compares to the 49.8% in 2016. Researchers expect the number female physicians in training to keep growing.
The same study by the AAMC reflected that the number of female students increased by 3.2% since 2015. Male students decreased by .03% in that same time. The total enrollment of medical school students is at 89,904 this year.
While the number of potential female physicians that enrolled is higher than ever, the number of applicants is declining year to year. Medscape reports that the number of total applicants is down by 2.6% since 2016. This includes the number of female applicants. So while there are more future female physicians in schools compared to men, the number of overall students is down. Female applicants decreased by 0.7%. Male applicants declined at an even higher rate of 4.4% since 2015.
The research from the AAMC went on to say that while the number of female applicants has decreased in the past year, it is still up from 2015. In the past two years, 4% more females are applying and the number of males applying decreased by 6.7%.
More and more women are entering the field and training to become female physicians. This is increasing the diversity in the field. An increased diversity in any field promotes the growth of ideas and information. The more female physicians there are in the field, the more advocacy there is for women’s health. The more diversity there is in our doctors, the more likely the healthcare industry is to be a well-rounded community that can work towards improving health outcomes with more effective care.