Sex Differences in Faculty Rank Among Academic Cardiologists in the United States

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Studies demonstrate that women physicians are less likely than men to be full professors. Comprehensive evidence examining whether sex differences in faculty rank exist in academic cardiology, adjusting for experience and research productivity, is lacking. Therefore, we evaluated for sex differences in faculty rank among a comprehensive, contemporary cohort of US cardiologists after adjustment for several factors that impact academic advancement, including measures of clinical experience and research productivity.


We identified all US cardiologists with medical school faculty appointments in 2014 by using the American Association of Medical Colleges faculty roster and linked this list to a comprehensive physician database from Doximity, a professional networking website for doctors. Data on physician age, sex, years since residency, cardiology subspecialty, publications, National Institutes of Health grants, and registered clinical trials were available for all academic cardiologists. We estimated sex differences in full professorship, adjusting for these factors and medical school–specific fixed effects in a multivariable regression model.


Among 3810 cardiologists with faculty appointments in 2014 (13.3% of all US cardiologists), 630 (16.5%) were women. Women faculty were younger than men (mean age, 48.3 years versus 53.5 years, P<0.001), had fewer total publications (mean number: 16.5 publications versus 25.2 publications; P<0.001), were similarly likely to have National Institutes of Health funding (proportion with at least 1 National Institutes of Health award, 10.8% versus 10.4%; P=0.77), and were less likely to have a registered clinical trial (percentage with at least 1 clinical trial, 8.9% versus 11.1%; P=0.10). Among 3180 men, 973 (30.6%) were full professors in comparison with 100 (15.9%) of 630 women. In adjusted analyses, women were less likely to be full professors than men (adjusted odds ratio, 0.63; 95% confidence interval, 0.43–0.94; P=0.02; adjusted proportions, 22.7% versus 26.7%; absolute difference, –4.0%; 95% confidence interval, –7.5% to –0.7%).


Among cardiology faculty at US medical schools, women were less likely than men to be full professors after accounting for several factors known to influence faculty rank.

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