The number of women practicing medicine in the United States has
grown steadily since the late 1960s, with women now roughly at
parity with men among entering medical students. Why did so many
women enter American medicine? How are women faring, professionally
and personally, once they become physicians? Are women transforming
the way medicine is practiced?
To answer these questions, The Changing Face of
Medicine draws on a wide array of sources, including
interviews with women physicians and surveys of medical students
and practitioners. The analysis is set in the twin contexts of a
rapidly evolving medical system and profound shifts in gender roles
in American society.
Throughout the book, Ann K. Boulis and Jerry A. Jacobs
critically examine common assumptions about women in medicine. For
example, they find that women's entry into medicine has less to do
with the decline in status of the profession and more to do with
changes in women's roles in contemporary society. Women physicians'
families are becoming more and more like those of other working
women. Still, disparities in terms of specialty, practice
ownership, academic rank, and leadership roles endure, and barriers
to opportunity persist. Along the way, Boulis and Jacobs address a
host of issues, among them dual-physician marriages, specialty
choice, time spent with patients, altruism versus materialism, and
how physicians combine work and family.
Women's presence in American medicine will continue to grow
beyond the 50 percent mark, but the authors question whether this
change by itself will make American medicine more caring and more
patient centered. The future direction of the profession will
depend on whether women doctors will lead the effort to chart a new
course for health care delivery in the United States.
Subjects: Health Sciences
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