Continuation of Gender Disparities in Pay Among Academic Emergency Medicine Physicians

Acad Emerg Med. 2019 Mar;26(3):286-292. doi: 10.1111/acem.13694. Epub 2019 Feb 19.


Objectives: The objective was to identify the effects of gender and other predictors of change in the salary of academic emergency physicians over a four sequential time period of survey administration, across a sample of physicians within different emergency departments (EDs) and within states representing the four main geographical regions of the United States.

Methods: This was a successive cross-sectional observational study of EDs in the United States using an annual salary survey distributed to all Association of Academic Chairs in Emergency Medicine (AACEM) and Academy of Administrators in Academic Emergency Medicine (AAAEM) members in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017 with a sample size of 7,102 respondents over all time periods. The primary variable of interest was the adjusted base salary, calculated to be the full-time effort of the physician without any enhancements (e.g., without stipend, release time, extra hours). Institutional predictive variables included U.S. region that ED was in and if the site was an academic or community academic hybrid ("community") ED. Individual level variables included gender, academic rank, years at academic rank, years at rank within the ED, and primary duty (clinical or other). A series of Wilcoxon tests were conducted to determine if the unadjusted difference in salaries by gender for each year of the survey were significantly different. The effects of relative change in adjusted base salary over time were assessed using a mixed-effects regression model, with institutional- and individual-level predictors included in the model.

Results: Data were provided by 81 departments across the four geographic regions of the United States (Northeast, South, West, and Midwest). Most of the survey respondents across the four time periods of administration were male (65%) and reported primary clinical appointments at an academic ED (94%). Overall salaries increased across the four time points of the data with an overall relative 10.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 9.6%-12%) change in median salary between 2013 and 2017; the relative percentage change for female respondents was 10.6% (95% CI = 9.4%-11.85%) and 11.1% (95% CI = 10.2%-12%) for males. Within survey years, not adjusting for academic rank, the median salary increase for males was higher ($226,746 in 2013 to $252,000 in 2017) than females ($217,000 in 2013 to $240,000 in 2017), with significance at all four time points (Z = 6.33, p < 0.001), with a median average salary gap of $12,000 in 2017. In the predictive model that adjusted for covariates, gender significantly predicted median adjusted salary, with males earning significantly more than females (F(1) = 22.5, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Despite previously published data showing an inappropriate gender salary gap in emergency medicine, this gap has remained essentially unchanged over the past 4 years.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergency Medicine / organization & administration
  • Emergency Medicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Faculty, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States