GLEN HEAD, NY / MARCH 7, 2023 / Dr. Rina Caprarella is a physician and the former Chair of Women in Medicine. She understands the female physician workforce as much as anyone because she is an active part of it. Dr. Caprarella recently spoke about the growing number of female doctors and how they’re changing private and public practices around the country.
The Female Physician Workforce on the Rise
Dr. Caprarella began by explaining that the percentage of female physicians in the U.S. is rising. From 2007 to 2019, the percentage of women physicians rose from 28.3 to 36.3. In 2019, the number of female medical students was greater than the number of males.
“Gender equity is on its way to becoming the norm in the United States medical workforce, and we’re excited to see this spread beyond borders to other countries as well,” Dr. Caprarella said.
Research by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) shows the highest percentage of female physicians focus on treating women and children. Pediatrics is the most popular field, followed by obstetrics and gynecology, child and adolescent psychiatry, and neonatal-perinatal medicine.
Women tend to be the minority in fields like pulmonary disease, orthopedic surgery, and urology.
Dr. Rina Caprarella explained that some fields show outstanding growth among female physicians. More women than ever are pursuing sports medicine and emergency medicine. Since 2014, the number of female physicians in emergency medicine ballooned by 17.2 percent.
The Importance of Female Physicians
Dr. Caprarella explained that the physician workforce is getting older. In 2019, nearly 45 percent of physicians were 55 or older. They’re rapidly approaching retirement age.
“The country is facing an impending physician shortage, and women can help prevent it,” Dr. Caprarella said. “We see that surgery fields are dominated by male doctors, but those doctors are aging out of their positions.”
Dr. Caprarella explained the importance of women in medicine and the pursuit of specialties that were once considered male positions. Preventative medicine, orthopedic surgery, and thoracic surgery are the top three specialties among physicians over 55. Ideally, a portion of the young women studying medicine will pursue these fields to offset the predicted shortage.
Dr. Rina Caprarella is the Chair of Neurology and the former Chair of Women in Medicine from 2018 to 2021, which focuses on community, leadership, practice growth, and outreach for female physicians. She specializes in neurophysiology with a focus on peripheral neuropathy, neck and back pain, and entrapment neuropathy.
Dr. Caprarella is excited about the future of women in the physician workforce and looks forward to seeing more female physicians in public and private practices across the U.S. and beyond.