Date of Award
Medical Doctor (MD)
Ninani E. Kombo
Purpose: To examine the association between provider characteristics and annual salaries and understand the influence of data transparency on salary differences between men and women.
Design: Retrospective analysis of employer reported salary data for ophthalmologists employed by public universities in California between 2013 and 2017.
Participants: 164 ophthalmologists identified from 5 ophthalmology departments in California.
Methods: Ophthalmology faculty were identified through the departmental websites and the corresponding salary data from 2013-2017 were extracted. Information on faculty gender, years out of residency, faculty title and departmental position, subspecialty, publication numbers, and clinical trial participation were obtained. A multivariable linear regression model was used to determine the association between provider characteristics and ophthalmologists’ annual salaries. A permutation-based time series analysis was used to determine salary changes between 2013 and 2017.
Main Outcome Measures: Annual salaries of male and female ophthalmologists.
Results: Unadjusted annual salaries of female ophthalmologists were significantly lower than those of their male counterparts ($377,541vs $484,517, p <0.05). After adjusting for years out of residency, faculty title and departmental position, subspecialty, publication numbers, and clinical trial participation in a multivariable linear regression model, the salary gap became non-significant, with the number of publications, chair or vice-chair positions, and practice in refractive surgery positively associated with salary (p<0.05). A permutation-based time series analysis showed no statistically significant difference in change in annual salaries between 2013 and 2017 (p=0.227).
Conclusions: While the number of women in medicine has grown significantly, gender disparities still exist. Our study found that the unadjusted salary gap between academic male and female ophthalmologists in California has not changed significantly despite increased salary transparency. Salary transparency may encourage institutions to track their progress towards salary equality, but that alone is clearly not enough. We also found that after adjusting for physician characteristics, gender was no longer associated with salary. However, gender differences exist within physician characteristic themselves and may represent not only the choices of female ophthalmologists but also unequal opportunities, and ultimately result in gender differences in salary. Further research needs to be conducted to fully elucidate the reasons behind gender discrepancies in salary and increase gender equality in medicine.
Hui, Lucy, "Gender Differences In Ophthalmologist Salary In California Public Medical Schools" (2020). Yale Medicine Thesis Digital Library. 3914.