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Physician Specialty Report Indicates Possible Increase in Female Physicians

14 Apr, 2023 F.J. Thomas

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Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – Women account for only 37.1 percent of the physicians in the U.S., according to a recent report from the Association of American Medical Colleges. The report was developed from a combination of active physician data from the American Medical Association through December 2021, cross-referenced with the U.S. Census Bureau, and the GME Track Survey that polls residents and fellows.
Pediatrics had the highest number of currently active female physicians in 2021 at 65 percent. However, that same year only 5.9 percent of orthopedic surgeons, and 7.1 percent of orthopedic sports medicine specialists, a total of 217, were female. The same year, 47.3 percent of residents and fellows were women. Obstetrics and gynecology had the highest percentage of female residents and fellows at 86.4 percent. Orthopedic sports medicine had the lowest number of female residents and fellows at 10.7 percent. Potentially the increase in the overall percentage of female residents and fellows could signal an increase in the number of physicians who are women.
As of 2021, 46.7 percent of active physicians in the U.S. were aged 55 or older. What is worrisome is that 92.4 percent of pulmonary specialists are over the age of 55, which could potentially indicate an access problem for that specialty in years to come. The report noted that in the late 1980’s, pulmonary disease developed into what is now known as pulmonary critical care, and that could be a factor in the decrease in the number of physicians and the demographic.
Only 9 percent of sport medicine providers were over the age of 55 in 2021. From 2016 to 2021 however, sports medicine grew 42.5 percent, going from 2,252 physicians up to 3,208 across the U.S. The number of residents and fellows in sports medicine programs grew as well. The number of sports medicine fellows and residents increased by 27.2 percent.
In 2021, internal medicine accounted for the largest number of active providers at 120,342 total physicians. Family medicine came in second with 118,641 physicians, and pediatrics came in third with 60,305 physicians. The number of residents and fellows followed similar suit that same year. Internal medicine had the largest number of first year residents and fellows at 11,297 total. Family medicine came in second at 4,856 first year residents and fellows, followed by pediatrics at 3,143.
Psychiatry saw a 26.3 increase in residents and fellows. Preventative medicine and pediatric anesthesiology both saw decreases at 39.4 percent and 16.0 percent, respectively.


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    About The Author

    • F.J. Thomas

      F.J. Thomas has worked in healthcare business for more than fifteen years in Tennessee. Her experience as a contract appeals analyst has given her an intimate grasp of the inner workings of both the provider and insurance world. Knowing first hand that the industry is constantly changing, she strives to find resources and information you can use.

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