Date of Award

7-23-2009

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)

First Advisor

Howard Paul Forman

Abstract

While the number of women entering medical schools is approaching 50% nationally, women continue to be underrepresented in a number of specialties including diagnostic radiology. Although diagnostic radiology has many lifestyle characteristics that might be desirable to women, (e.g., reasonable call hours, flexible scheduling, and high salaries) women still do not choose radiology at the same rate at which they choose other specialties. Here, we use literature review, aggregated data analysis, and focus groups to investigate possible reasons why women enter diagnostic radiology at a lower rate than they enter medicine as a profession. The current literature suggests a consteIlation of factors may be responsible for the gender differences in diagnostic radiology. Evaluation of factors affecting specialty choice include a review of available on physician satisfaction and lifestyle data and analysis of focus groups and interviews conducted with female diagnostic radiology residents and female medical students from the Yale University School of Medicine. We conclude that women who do not choose radiology are unable to overcome the lack of patient care inherent in its practice. Women who do choose radiology enjoy its technical aspects and often seek to offset the lack of patient contact by seeking careers in breast imaging and interventional radiology. Elective experiences and positive role models were important for women who went into radiology but were less important for women who chose other specialties. Finally, women who did not choose radiology as a career cited lifestyle as radiology's most attractive attribute, but women who had chosen a career in radiology placed significant emphasis on other aspects of radiology as the most important factors in their specialty choice, mentioning lifestyle as an afterthought.

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