ACC survey finds fewer than 20% of cardiologists are women

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Although approximately half of all medical school graduates are women, fewer than 20 percent of cardiologists who see adult patients are women, according to an American College of Cardiology (ACC) survey.

The survey, which was conducted in 2015 and released on March 23, found that women were more likely than their male counterparts to be single, have experienced past discrimination, and are less likely to have children.

In all, 794 women and 1,227 men completed the survey, which was similar to the one sent to cardiologists in 1996 and 2006.

“I’m very concerned that we haven’t seen much growth in the number of women in adult cardiology,” Sandra Lewis, MD, FACC, a cardiologist at Northwest Cardiovascular Institute and the study’s lead author,  said in a news release. “Twenty years ago, we acknowledged a need to increase the number of women in cardiology, and 10 years ago we saw an increase, but we’ve hit a wall. We need to understand the barriers to women entering cardiology and work toward breaking down those barriers.”

The survey revealed that 32 percent of women and 23 percent of men practiced in academic centers; 33 percent and 39 percent, respectively, practiced in a hospital-owned model; 91 percent and 75 percent, respectively, had a noninvasive subspecialty; and 9 percent and 25 percent, respectively, had an invasive subspecialty.

In addition, 15 percent of women and 5 percent of men were single; 72 percent and 86 percent, respectively, had children; and 13 percent and 57 percent, respectively, said they had a spouse who provided child care at home.

Further, 65 percent of women and 23 percent of men said they were discriminated against at work. For women, the rate was down from 71 percent in 1996 and 69 percent in 2006. The rate has been approximately the same for men in all three surveys.

The most common areas of discrimination for women were related to their gender (96 percent), race (56 percent), parenting responsibilities (37 percent) and religion (22 percent).