This week I attended the 32nd Annual Research Day at Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN). The keynote speaker was Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, MHS, Associate Professor at the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Nunez-Smith’s research focuses on promoting healthcare equity for vulnerable populations with an emphasis on healthcare workforce development, patient assessment of healthcare experiences, and healthcare system strengthening to address chronic disease in low and middle resource settings. The keynote was extremely interesting and compelling. Following the keynote, four young resident and medical student researchers presented their studies. All were impressive. Three of the four presenters were women. As I listened to the speakers, I thought of the 13 Senators leading the working group to redefine American healthcare. All are white men with an average age above 60. Consider the significance of women in healthcare.
- Women comprise 80 percent of the total U.S. healthcare workforce.
- Of 923,000 physicians, 34% are women.
- 46 percent of all physicians in training and almost half of all medical students are women.
- 21 percent of healthcare executives are women.
- 90 percent of nurses are women.
- Women visit physicians more frequently and ask more questions.
- Roughly 80 percent of healthcare decisions in households are made by women.
- Women are more likely to take care of family members when they get sick.
Women know healthcare. They live it daily. They feel it at home and at work. They should have a strong voice in the development of an improved healthcare system.