Uniformed Services University Women's Enrollment and Career Choices in Military Medicine: A Retrospective Descriptive Analysis

Mil Med. 2019 May 1;184(5-6):e158-e163. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usy265.


Introduction: The purpose of this study was to examine Uniformed Services University (USU) women graduates in terms of percent of graduates', specialty choices and practice choices as compared to civilian women who graduate and practice medicine in the USA. This is a perspective that is currently not well understood.

Materials and methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all USU women graduates (1980-2015) using the 2016 American Medical Association (AMA) Physician Masterfile that included data from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). To describe USU women graduates' current practice status we queried for: (1) medical school; (2) year of graduation; (3) practice state; (4) primary specialty board; and (5) major professional activity (office-based practice vs. full-time hospital staff). Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Results: Our findings indicate that the percentage of USU women graduates has increased over time and stands at 29% for the 2010-2015 cohort as compared to 48% for women graduating from all U.S. medical schools. USU women graduates have a slightly higher board certification rate (89%) than the national cohort (88%). USU women graduates also have a higher percentage in family medicine (19%) than the national cohort (14%). USU women graduates practice in 48 states and were equally split between full-time hospital staff and office-based practice which differs from the national cohort that has a much higher proportion in office-based practice (85%).

Conclusions: Women are making significant gains in enrollment at USU, obtaining board certification at similar, and in some cases, higher rates than their civilian peers, and practicing in diverse specialties. This study provides a descriptive picture of women's enrollment and practice characteristics from a military-based medical school. Future work could examine underlying factors that may influence their school choice, career experiences, and trajectories. Future research could also focus on women's experiences of mentoring and support to better understand these factors.

Keywords: American Medical Association Physician Masterfile; Uniformed Services University; allopathic; retrospective analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Career Choice*
  • Certification / statistics & numerical data
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Military Medicine / education*
  • Military Medicine / statistics & numerical data
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Schools, Medical / organization & administration
  • Schools, Medical / statistics & numerical data
  • Specialization / statistics & numerical data
  • United States
  • Women, Working / psychology
  • Women, Working / statistics & numerical data