(HealthDay News) — For physicians with faculty appointments at 24 US public medical schools there are significant salary differences between men and women, even after adjustment for confounding variables, according to a study published online in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Anupam B. Jena, MD, PhD, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues analyzed differences in earnings among male and female US academic physicians using data from 12 states with salary information published online. Data were extracted for 10,241 academic physicians at 24 public medical schools.

The researchers found that the 3,549 female physicians had lower mean unadjusted salaries than the male physicians (absolute difference, $51,315). After adjustment for multiple variables, including age, experience, specialty, faculty rank, and measures of research productivity and clinical revenue, differences persisted, with an absolute difference of $19,878. There was variation across specialties, institutions, and faculty ranks in salary differences; adjusted salaries of female full professors were equivalent to those of male associate professors ($250,971 and $247,212, respectively). Adjusted salaries were highest in orthopedic surgery, surgical subspecialties, and general surgery, and were lowest in infectious disease, family medicine, and neurology. Positive associations for salary were seen for years of experience, total publications, clinical trial participation, and Medicare payments.

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“Significant sex differences in salary exist even after accounting for age, experience, specialty, faculty rank, and measures of research productivity and clinical revenue,” the authors write.

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1. Jena AB, Olenski AR, Blumenthal DM, et al. Sex Differences in Physician Salary in US Public Medical Schools. JAMA Intern Med. 2016 Jul 11. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.3284. [Epub ahead of print]
2. Arora VM. It Is Time for Equal Pay for Equal Work for Physicians—Paging Dr Ledbetter. JAMA Intern Med. 2016 Jul 11. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.3289. [Epub ahead of print]