It’s Here, the Feminization of Medicine: Good or Bad?
Susan P. Phillips, MD, MSc, CCFP; Emily B. Austin, MSc writing a Commentary in the February 25, 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association titled “The Feminization of Medicine and Population Health” (not available online without subscription) describe the current physician gender relationships and generalist to specialist relationships in medical care specifically with regard into what area of medicine graduating female medical students go and how they perform in their medical work. After describing the details, the authors write in conclusion:
“Although physician density is not a determinant of health outcomes, a greater proportion of generalists to specialists among those same physicians is associated with increased longevity of the population. Because women across time and place tend to become primary care physicians, the feminization of medicine may well have beneficial health outcomes possibly attributable to the nature of the care they provide irrespective of women's lower volume output relative to that of men. Such an improvement in outcomes may occur because of the practice styles of women, who outnumber men in primary care, or because of the nature of generalism. Either way, as women increasingly enter medicine and become generalists, rather than being a liability by not working excessively long hours or abandoning parenting, the quality of the care they provide may result in improved population health.”
If the studies described in the article and assumptions are correct, it would appear that the feminization of medicine which is certainly currently becoming more and more a reality is to the benefit of society. What do you think? The authors, both women, would answer my thread title with the word “good”. ..Maurice.
Graphic: Photograph of Elizabeth Blackwell (from Wikipedia)(February 3, 1821 – May 31, 1910) who was the first woman doctor in the United States. She was the first woman to graduate from medical school (M.D.), a pioneer in educating women in medicine, and was prominent in the emerging women's rights movement.