Study Finds Women Medical Students Publish Less Scholarly Research Than Their Male Peers

A new study led by Mytien Nguyen an M.D.-Ph.D. student at Yale School of Medicine examined factors that can shape biomedical career paths — research experiences, publications, and funding rates — among medical students in the United States. They found disparities across race, ethnicity, and sex that may contribute to underrepresentation in the field.

The research team analyzed research experiences and the number and frequency of publications among medical school graduates who matriculated in the field during the academic years 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016. The authors found that there were only slight differences between men and women in research experience. But women students had fewer publications than their male peers.

“The number of research experiences that students reported having were similar between men and women; women had a slightly higher number of research experiences than men,” said Nguyen, the lead author of the study. “However, when we looked at the number of publications, we saw there were marked disparities.” Women medical students had 10 percent fewer publications than their male peers.

The differences in publication rates could be due to a number of factors, the authors said. But previous studies have shown that women students are less likely than their peers to work with productive mentors with large research networks. Research has also shown that mentors often provide less support to underrepresented mentees until they’ve achieved some academic success.

Mytien Nguyen holds a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Cornell University.

The full study, “Variation in Research Experiences and Publications During Medical School by Sex and Race and Ethnicity,” was published on JAMA Open Network. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study


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