Great Problems, Great Minds Seminar Series: Workforce Gender Inequality—What Can We Learn from the Physician Workforce?



Join the Social Science’s Colloquium at the Department of Social Sciences for this Great Problems, Great Minds seminar series event featuring guest speaker Xiaochu Hu, a research manager of workforce studies at the Association of American Medical Colleges and serves as the chair of the Health Workforce Interest Group Advisory Committee of AcademyHealth. This event is open to the public and will take place on Friday, November 3, from 3:15–4:30 p.m. over Zoom.


Gender disparities persist in the labor market, with men often out earning women across various professions. Has the physician workforce, one of the best-paying occupations that demands a substantial human capital investment, achieved greater gender equity? This talk on physician and health workforce research introduces the prevailing trends and current state of gender inequity within the United States physician workforce, juxtaposed with other occupations. Drawing on the Association of American Medical Colleges workforce studies, this presentation discusses the distinctive factors contributing to gender gaps in physicians’ income and other labor market outcomes. These factors encompass various aspects, including the representation of women in medical practices, medical specialty choices, and the concept of couple equity within the profession. Considering the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, this talk shares the most recent developments in data and research, looking into potential strategies to bridge the gender gap that persists in the physician workforce.


Xiaochu Hu’s research areas include health workforce, migration, and public health. She has published scholarly articles on these areas in top journals, such as JAMA Network Open, the Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, and the Journal of Women’s Health. Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She taught at the University of the District of Columbia as a land-grant faculty and worked as a graduate research assistant for the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University. She received the American Economic Association Committee on Status of Women in the Economics Profession Fellowship in 2013 and the Philip M. Dearborn Fellowship of the Economic Club of Washington D.C. in 2012. She holds a Ph.D. in public policy from George Mason University, an M.A. in applied geography from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, an M.P.A. from Beijing Normal University, and a B.S. in computer science from Beijing Language and Culture University.

“Workforce Gender Inequality—What Can We Learn from the Physician Workforce?” is part of the Social Sciences Colloquium of the Great Problems, Great Minds seminar series which explores the major problems facing humanity as we move into the heart of the twenty-first century. To see the full schedule and videos from previous events, visit the seminar series page. For more information, contact Associate Professor of Social Sciences Hao Huang at

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