Today on the podcast, Dr. Spath interviews Dr. Shikha Jain. Dr. Jain has devoted her life to practicing medicine and to helping women in medicine. She shares her vast knowledge of gender inequality in medicine, the wage gap in medicine, and what we can do to start making positive changes today. Dr. Jain is a board-certified hematology and oncology physician. She's a tenured associate professor of medicine in the division of Hematology and Oncology at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She's the director of communication strategies in medicine and the associate director of oncology communication and digital innovation at the University of Illinois Cancer Center. She is the founder and president of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Women in Medicine, and the founder and chair of the Women in Medicine Summit. She's the CEO and co-founder of the action, advocacy, and amplification organization IMPACT.


Creating the Women in Medicine Summit 

Today, we're going to be diving into being women in medicine. You are the founder of the Women in Medicine Summit, and I've been so fortunate to be invited to speak there the last couple of years. It's really a transformative experience for women to talk about our struggles and our experiences and to learn from each other. Can you tell us a little bit about you and what brought you to start this amazing organization?

“Yes, thank you so much. It's been a long road, I will say. We've grown quite a bit since our first year. I started the Women in Medicine Summit because of my experience on maternity leave with my twins. I have three kids: 8, 5, and 5 now. I went on maternity leave, and I was doing more on Twitter because I had recently published some op-eds. My institution had said, you need to get more engaged on social media. I started to read what other women in medicine were sharing about things that had happened to them. I realized that a lot of things that had happened to me throughout my training and my career were not because I wasn't a good physician, not because I didn't deserve a certain award or accolade or opportunity. But in actuality, it was because there were a lot of barriers in the healthcare system that were intrinsic to the way the system was set up.

Because I had never talked to anyone about it, because I'd never told anyone about my struggles, I just thought that I was the problem and I thought that I had not done something right and that had resulted in whatever the outcomes were. I came back from maternity leave with this newfound desire to create an opportunity for women to come together and really talk about these challenges. But more than that, my dad is a surgeon and has told me, “You don't just come with problems, you come with solutions.” For me, it was the opportunity to create a conference that was really about talking about the problems but then also really focusing on solutions. Providing professional development, providing ways to fix the system, providing ways to get male allies involved and engaged. These were all things that were really important to me, because I felt like if I'd had something like that earlier in my career, I may have had a different experience going through training and then as a junior faculty.

I created the summit, and the first year it was really successful. I was fortunate in that the year before I'd actually created Women in Medicine programming at Northwestern, where I had been on faculty at the time. I used my knowledge from that event to expand and grow this Women in Medicine summit. Since then, it's become this amazing conference where what I've been told—I can say this objectively, even though subjectively I think it's amazing since I made it—is that it's been life changing for them. It's been transformative, as you mentioned, because not only do you get the leadership training, not only do you get the negotiation skills, the financial skills from you when you speak there, and the CME, you also create these networks and communities across the country and now across the globe that have actually resulted in many of the people who attend getting opportunities for media appearances, getting opportunities for collaboration and research, getting mentorship and sponsorship opportunities.

The connections that have been forged at the last couple of summits have really resulted in the advancement of countless women in medicine. My hope is that as we continue to grow, we continue to see not only women, but also men who are taking up the torch and figuring out ways to fix the system within their own institutions and nationally. Actually, the first person who registered for the 2023 summit was a man. A lot of male allies are attending now because we created programming dedicated to allyship, as well, and helping men understand how they can be more inclusive leaders and how they can really work toward creating environments and creating structures and systems that allow for more diversity and more leadership at the top that is not just the same homogenous group of people we've seen for the last 100 years.”

 

Getting into Medicine and Activism 

That's amazing. Tell us a little bit more about what brought you to medicine and what your experience was in medicine that really prompted you to start this huge movement.

“I knew that I wanted to be a doctor since I was a little kid. There were times in college where I dabbled with other ideas, but I really thought that I wanted to be a doctor from the time I was little and I would shadow my dad. I would be 6, 7 years old and it'd be a Sunday, and I'd have nothing to do so my dad would take me to the hospital to round on his post-op patients. Seeing that relationship that my dad had with his patients, either in the community or in the hospital, to me that was such a special relationship and I really loved the science. The more I learned about medicine, I really was just enthralled by being able to take care of people, help people navigate sometimes the most difficult parts of their lives and then develop these long-lasting relationships with patients and their families. That's how I decided to go into medicine.

The challenge was as I went through my training and as I became faculty, I started to notice that I was being treated a little bit differently than some of my colleagues. I initially thought, again, it must be me because the way I was raised was you work hard and you will succeed. If you realize you have deficiencies, you work on them, you improve on them, and then you will continue to grow.

Unfortunately, what I saw happening to myself and my colleagues would be two people would be exactly the same, let's say on their CV or in their accomplishments or how they presented on rounds. I kept noticing the men were getting offered the leadership positions. The men were getting offered opportunities for networking or they were getting offered opportunities to collaborate on research. I actually had people tell me that the work I was doing was a waste of time. I had people tell me that the work I was doing was not going to contribute to the national dialogue. When I found out I was pregnant, I had people tell me that I was failing the medical field because I was taking time off for maternity leave. I did not even take as much time as you really should take after you've had a C-section.

I was back as quickly as possible because I didn't want to impact my training. When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I had people telling me, ‘Oh, I was going to put you up for this opportunity, but now I'm not going to because you're having twins. So I can't imagine you'd want to.' When I interviewed for a position, I had a person actually tell me to my face that I would never be able to go full-time because he assumed I wanted more children. There was no reason for me to go full-time and he would take on any extra patients that came on. These are just the more benign comments. I had people sexually harass me. I had people basically threaten me. I honestly brushed all of these things off because I really assumed that I had done something wrong. It wasn't until I started speaking to other women that I realized that my experience was not unique to me.

My husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, used to ask me, ‘Why does this stuff keep happening to you?' Initially I thought, ‘Yeah, that's a good question. Why does this stuff keep happening to me? It's not happening to him.' Then, when I started talking to other women, I said, ‘Hey honey, why don't you talk to some of the other women that you work with and just mention, don't say it's me, just mention the experiences that I've had and see what they say.' If they say, ‘Wow, that's really strange,' then you're right, this is something that's just happening to me. He came back to me and he said, ‘Oh my gosh, this is happening to so many people.' I said, ‘I know.' And he said, ‘Why do I not know about it?' I said, ‘Well, one, you're a man, so it hasn't happened to you so you don't see it. And two, I said, there's a stigma about talking about these things.' I don't talk about this to anyone because if I talk about it to someone, they're going to think that I am less than or that I am to blame because that's what's happened to my other female colleagues who brought these things up.

For me, the reason that I really ended up in this position doing this work, which if you'd asked me 10 years ago, there's no way, not a chance I would've thought I'd be doing this particular work in healthcare. But it became so pervasive and so egregious in some of these situations that I knew being the person that I am, when I see a problem, I want to fix it. I couldn't imagine continuing on in healthcare without trying to do something to fix these problems.”

Your message really hits a note with so many because like you said, it is a pervasive problem and a lot of us don't want to bring it up. We're the type of people that are willing and able to pull ourselves up through our efforts. We certainly don't want to admit that there's anything else going on that could be hindering us. Thank you so much for bringing that to light.

More information here:

How to Prepare for Maternity and How It Could Affect Your Family’s Finances

 

The Gender Wage Gap in Medicine 

We are a financial podcast, so we should talk about the money side of things, too. There's a lot of talk about a gender wage gap. It's been talked about throughout society and definitely in medicine. Is it real, Shikha? Do you think that's a real thing?

“One hundred percent. It's real. It's not even an opinion. I speak on this all the time, and oftentimes, I get the one person who says, ‘Well, in my practice, everyone gets paid the same.' And I say, ‘That's great. Your anecdotal evidence and anecdotal experience is really no match for the amount of mountains and mountains of data, objective data, we have that proves the pay gap is not only real, it's quite bad.' Dr. Vinny Arora published a paper just a few years ago showing for female physicians, over a projected 40-year career, can lose up to $2 million in their career. All of these studies that we talk about, these studies take into account maternity leave, family leave, part-time vs. full-time, RVU generation. They've taken into account all of these things and they still without fail have shown a persistent wage gap, which we see in society, as you mentioned. For women with intersectional identities, for women of color, the wage gap is even more profound. It's not a question of is there a wage gap, it's a question of how do we fix this wage gap that we 100% know exists?”

What are some factors that might explain this wage gap?

“There's a lot of things that factor into it. No. 1, I want everyone to remember that when the healthcare system was created, women were not in the healthcare workforce. When you look at the way that we compensate people, the work that is usually dedicated or allocated to women is not compensated. Women are often allocated to what Dr. Julie Silver refers to as citizenship tasks. Getting put on committees, organizing potlucks, working on DEI initiatives, working on mental health, working on wellness. A lot of those things are relegated into the female category often, and that work is often uncompensated and people do it in their free time because they know it's important.

McKinsey and LeanIn came out with a report a couple years ago that showed that, during the pandemic, the majority of the invisible work that was done was done by women. When we talk about invisible work, again, we talk about things like making sure your employees are happy and healthy, making sure mental health is taken care of, making sure that diversity and equity are at the forefront. Many institutions and organizations get awards for these things. They get more money for these things. They get accolades because they're doing so well, but that work is not compensated. Not only is it not compensated, it's not even really recognized or awarded. In the survey that McKinsey put out, the majority of the women surveyed said they never felt like they had been told that they were doing a good job. Many of them were considering leaving the workforce altogether. Dr. Amy Gottlieb with the AAMC made a comment, when the AAMC report came out talking about the wage gap. She said the problem is the way healthcare compensates people. It devalues the contributions of women. We really need to think about how we compensate people and we need to readjust what we are compensating for.

The second really big issue is the amount of time women spend with patients and the amount of time women spend on the EMR responding to patients. The data shows that women get more messages from their patients, and women spend more time responding and doing that work and spending time in the electronic medical record. Not because they aren't tech savvy, not because they don't understand how to use it, but because they simply just have more work to do. It's been hypothesized that because patients often feel that women are better communicators, they feel more comfortable talking to them. They feel more comfortable just messaging them as if it's an email. That time, again, it's not compensated and it's not valued. All of this has resulted in studies coming out that shows that the outcomes of the patients that are being treated by female physicians are actually better in some situations than the male colleagues.

There was a study that showed women physicians had lower readmission rates. Women physicians had lower mortality and morbidity with their patients. Women surgeons who operated on women patients actually had fewer complications and less mortalities. All of this just goes to show that women are working extremely hard and they're providing exceptional care, but the work they're doing is not compensated at the same level as the work that their male colleagues are doing.”

More information here:

Women and Money: Myths That Hold Us Back

 

What Can We Do on an Individual Basis to Improve the Wage Gap? 

It does seem so insurmountable. What can women do to overcome it on an individual basis? What can we do as women in medicine to get better contracts, to get better compensation?

“There's a lot that we can do. From an individual standpoint, I think it's really important to have people in your corner. You need to have sponsors. You need to have stakeholders who care about you staying at the institution who can help you negotiate. They may be able to help you by telling you what other people's salaries are. They may be able to help you by telling you what you should be asking for. I actually have emailed people before negotiating for a new contract and said, ‘What all should I be asking for? I have no idea what I should ask.' Men do this all the time. I've had men reach out to me, men reach out to each other. Finding people to ask the questions of ,“What should I be asking for?” and, “What should I be getting paid?”

You should be looking at the national data and looking what the median and average is of somebody in your position, in your location. There's MGMA data that you can access that can help you with that information. At the end of the day, this isn't a man vs. woman thing. I'm talking about gender in the binary because that's how most of the studies have been done. But this isn't a men vs. women situation. This is really trying to find the right allies and stakeholders who are going to help you negotiate for yourself and make sure you don't undervalue yourself or undersell yourself. Women often don't like asking. It's uncomfortable. Even I feel uncomfortable when I ask my boss, ‘I want more protected time for this. I'm doing this much work. I feel like I should be compensated for this.' We have been taught not to talk about money. We've been taught that it's not polite to talk about your salary or your money. That is how we've ended up in this situation that we're in today.

I think from a leadership standpoint, we really need to be focusing on transparency, which can be very difficult. I know a lot of institutions have hired an outside consulting firm to do a kind of analysis and an audit of what their pay looks like, but then that data's often not given to the employees or the people who work in the hospital or the institution. Transparency is really key, and we need to be advocating for ourselves and for others. When I have my fellows who are negotiating for new contracts, I will tell them what they should be asking for. I tell them to figure out what their non-negotiables are. There are some things that are absolutely must-haves, like I must have X number of weeks of vacation. I must have X amount of CME funding. I must have X amount of a bonus or of a salary that I'm starting with.

There are some things that are going to be non-negotiable, and then there's some things that you need to think about, ‘Well, is this something that we could negotiate on?' I always say ask for more than what you actually want. Because if you shoot for the stars and you fall around the clouds, that's better than falling down on the ground. Find out what you really need and think ahead of time what is your floor and what is your ceiling?”

 

What Are Allies and Sponsors? 

You mentioned finding allies and sponsors. Can you elaborate on that for me?

“It's really important to find allies and sponsors. It doesn't just have to be people in leadership. It can also be allies and sponsors who are at your same level. I often talk to a person who's recently negotiated a contract at the same institution, and I'll say, ‘What did you ask for? Do you have any ideas on what I should or shouldn't ask for?' It does help having allies in leadership. At the end of the day, everyone who you work for is going to want you to be successful. The way I always frame it is, I want to exceed your expectations in this position. I want to be the best employee, the best physician, the best whatever it is that you are hiring. In order to meet and exceed your expectations, these are the things that I need.

When you find those allies, they can sometimes help you and say, ‘These things are not going to happen, but these things are negotiable.' Sometimes what I do is talk to one of those allies ahead of time and I say, ‘This is what I'm going in with, do you think this is good? How should I present this?' At the end of the day, you need to present it in a way where the person you're talking to is going to respond positively. You don't want to leave with a negative feeling in your stomach or in their stomach. Pitching your ideas to one of those allies that you found ahead of time can be really helpful.

Again, you can do it to people at your own level, and you can also do it at somebody who's more senior than you who might have more experience. It doesn't have to be somebody at your institution. Most of the people who I've gone to have been people at other institutions. Then what you can say, well, I know at University X or at hospital system X, this is what they offer to their employees. This is what I would like to ask because I know this is what's being offered down the street. Sometimes, it can be really helpful to even have those allies outside of your own institution.”

And how do you go about finding these allies and sponsors?

“That is a tough one because it depends on where you are in your career. If you're a trainee, talk to the people within your organization. Talk to somebody who you've been doing research with or mentorship with. Find somebody who is doing what you want to do and ask them. Social media is a great way to find people like that. I found a lot of amazing allies, sponsors, mentors, and just listening ears through Twitter. What I've done sometimes is I'll tweet out I'm looking for someone who knows about X and people will reach out.

Sometimes what I do is I will find somebody who's doing exactly what I want to do and I will message them and say, ‘Hey, I'm looking for a position. I'm negotiating. Do you have a few minutes to talk? I'd love to hear about your position and how you negotiated for what you got.' I've had people reach out to me. I think I am one of the first, if not the first, director of communication for a cancer center in the country. It's not a really known position. I created it and I've had people reach out to me and say they are meeting with their leadership and they want to have a position similar to mine. They want to know what I asked for and how I got it paid for and what things I put on the job description. Find someone who's doing what you want to do, whether it's at your institution or not. Email them, or send them a message through social media. You can ask if one of your mentors knows them and can connect you. There's lots of ways to do that. Sometimes, you just have to step outside of your comfort zone.”

I've really found that people are so helpful and willing to offer information if you just reach out and ask. Thank you so much for doing that for other people, and I highly encourage other women to do the same.

 

The Effect of the Pandemic for Women in Medicine

Going back, you mentioned the COVID pandemic and how it has affected the wage gap. How has the COVID pandemic affected women in medicine? I happen to know you recently wrote a paper about it.

“I did recently write a paper about it. What we've seen with the pandemic is women are working more at home. They're increasing their home/work responsibilities. How many of us, if we have children, had to do virtual learning with our children while also trying to manage our full-time jobs? Women are doing more work at home in general. That's kind of societally how the system has been set up. We're seeing more men take on more of that work now, but we saw that gap widen during the pandemic. Things like arranging vaccine appointments, getting doctor's appointments, typically falls to women. Women who were working typically had a pretty good system in place for those things before the pandemic. That system kind of crumbled with childcare and schools being closed and not being able to have nannies or babysitters in the house. That was a huge challenge.

We're seeing women publish less. Again, it's not because women aren't ambitious and women aren't interested, it's because there's a finite number of hours in the day. When you get 6,000 other things piled on your shoulders, it's sometimes hard to prioritize things like academic publications. Not only that, but women weren't getting offered those opportunities for the same reason that I mentioned earlier. People think, ‘Oh, they're too busy doing home things, so I'm not even going to offer them the opportunity.' We also saw women just having less time for everything that's been documented, and we documented that we saw a significant change in the amount of time that women had to do things like Zoom virtual happy hours or socializing after work and things like that.

We also saw a widening of the pay gap. I don't know if you remember near the beginning of the pandemic, there were freezes put on for bonuses and there were freezes put on for promotions because everything was focused on the pandemic response. The thought was that these would be temporary. But unfortunately, even a short amount of time where you have your bonuses frozen or you have your ability to ascend and get a higher amount of salary to be frozen for a short amount of time, that can actually have long-term impacts on your overall ability to make X amount of dollars over a career. The temporary changes that we saw at the beginning of the pandemic and the temporary stop gaps that were put in place, we are starting to see now how they're really impacting women in medicine and how they're going to continue to impact them probably for years to come.”

More information here:

You Should Invest Like a 50-Year-Old Woman

 

Fixing the System Is Good for Everyone 

We've really covered a lot of great topics here. Thank you, Dr. Jain. Do you have any parting thoughts for our listeners? Any way to lift them up and help them get over this wage gap, get over COVID’s impact on us?

“I am always a solutions-type person and I am typically pretty positive, although a lot of the stuff I talk about seems very depressing and sad because it's 2023 and we still have all of these pervasive inequities. My biggest challenge to everyone out there is thinking really hard about why do these systems still exist the way they do and who are they really serving? Because at the end of the day, we have a healthcare crisis for everyone. It's not just women. The pandemic has really laid bare the deficiencies in our healthcare system, and it's resulted in what they call a great resignation where we see so many physicians, nurses, healthcare workers, men and women leaving the field. At the end of the day, when we advocate for people to be treated equitably, when we advocate for men and women and people of all colors and all genders to be paid equally, to be treated equally, to be advanced equitably, we really end up with a trickle-down effect where the patients benefit, a trickle-down effect where the institutions benefit.

Studies have shown that institutions with more diversity at the top actually have higher retention rates. They get more awards, they get more accolades, they get more money. All of these things, regardless of whether you think it's the right thing to do or not, they have positive impacts at all levels. It's really past time for us to shine a light on this and for us to fix it. People have been talking about this for decades, and there are so many people who have worked so hard to try to move things forward. We're at a watershed moment where we have an opportunity to really fix the system and repair and replace a lot of these structures that have been in place for years that are very antiquated.

I encourage you to think critically about what you as an individual can do to start working toward fixing some of these challenges we talked about. Think outside of your normal circle, offer opportunities to people you wouldn't normally think of. If you're in leadership, it's time to start thinking really critically about what am I doing at my institution to make sure that we are really focusing on providing an equitable environment for the people who work here and for our patients. Because at the end of the day, it's not about DEI or diversity, equity and inclusion. It's not about that buzzword. It's really about figuring out how to provide the best care to our patients. The data consistently shows that in order to do that, we need to make sure we're also treating our healthcare workers equitably.

I encourage everyone to come to the Women in Medicine Summit. It's September 22-23 in Chicago, open to people of all genders and at all stages in their careers. Whether you're retired or in the C-suite or just starting out and a first-year attending, there's a lot of opportunities for growth and leadership development for people of all genders. We have a lot of other programming through our Women in Medicine nonprofit as well. Whether it's through our organization or through other organizations, I would recommend you look for those resources because a lot of them exist and they can really help you transform your organization, They can help you transform your own personal and professional life to lead a life where you're actually happy in your job, where you're actually wanting to go to work, where you actually feel excited and you remember why you went into medicine in the first place. It's possible to retain that joy for your entire career. We just need to be thinking how do we really protect and take care of our healthcare workers to make sure our healthcare system doesn't completely implode as we continue to navigate the long-term outcomes of this pandemic.”

Thank you. Dr. Jain. Where can our listeners find you if they have more questions?

“I'm pretty easy to find. I'm on Twitter and Instagram and LinkedIn and Facebook. I'm at Shikha Jain, MD on most of those platforms. On LinkedIn, I think I'm Shikha Jain, MD, FACP. You can also find me on the Women in Medicine social media handles at WIM Summit on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram as well. I have a website shikhajainmd.com, and you can find all my contact info there as well. I'd be happy to hear from anyone who's interested in getting involved or just talking more about any of these topics.”

Thank you so much, Dr. Jain, for coming and sharing your wisdom with us and for sharing your time with us today. It's been a really wonderful conversation.

What an insightful conversation with Dr. Jain. Whether we're men or women, we all suffer if a colleague is suffering. We all suffer if we lose someone in our practice. It pays for everyone if we close the gender wage gap and work on the factors that created it in the first place. What I really loved about this conversation is that not only did we identify the problem, Dr. Jain also offered several solutions. And those solutions were largely centered around helping each other. I hope you'll become one of the people that will reach down and help the next person after you.

 

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Women's Happy Hour

Have you ever wanted to break the ice, get real, and talk about money with other female medical professionals? We all know it's a little hard to talk about our financial situation in real life, so this is our opportunity to break down those walls and help each other! Come join WCI Ambassador Disha Spath and other WCI women for our monthly happy hours. Topics can range from investments to childcare to budgeting and everything in between. Go to whitecoatinvestor.com/happyhour for more information.

 

Milestones to Millionaire Podcast

#113 — Paid Off Student Loans and Bought a Car With Cash

This neurologist paid off over $400,000 in just 3 1/2 years. He also bought a new car with cash. He said living like a resident and having a plan is how he paid off his debt so quickly. This doc has developed great habits that will help him reach financial independence early. We think you will find his optimism and discipline as inspiring as we did.


Sponsor: SoFi

 

Full Transcript

Transcription – WCI – 310

Intro:
This is the White Coat Investor podcast where we help those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street. We've been helping doctors and other high-income professionals stop doing dumb things with their money since 2011.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Hello and welcome to another White Coat Investor podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Disha Spath.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Today's episode is sponsored by locumstory.com. Everyone has a story, different needs, wants, and goals, and how to attain them. Your story determines your solution. Whatever your situation and story, locum tenens should be part of that conversation.

Dr. Disha Spath:
How do you find out if locums is a good option for you? Go to an unbiased, informative source like locumstory.com. You'll learn all the ins and outs of locums, details on travel and housing, assignment coordination, tax information, and more.

Dr. Disha Spath:
You'll also hear first-hand stories from locums physicians from all walks of life, so you get a bigger picture of the diverse options. Get a comprehensive view of locums and decide if it's right for you at locumstory.com.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Today's quote of the day is by Dave Ramsey. “Financial peace isn't the acquisition of stuff. It's learning to live on less than you make so that you can give money back and have money to invest. You can't win until you do this.”

Dr. Disha Spath:
Well, it doesn't matter how much leverage or creative financing you use, you really cannot get around the fact that math is math. If you spend all the money that you make in the end, if you want to build wealth, it's not going to happen. You need to live on less than you make because wealth is what you keep, it's not what you earn. So I fully a 100% agree with this.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Don't forget about our women's happy hours. We do them once every month as sponsored by the White Coat Investor. This is a completely free and open invitation to women or anyone who identifies as female to come join us and just talk about money.

Dr. Disha Spath:
We all know it's a little hard to just talk about our financial situation in real life, in other situations that wouldn't really open us up to talk about our stocks and investing and our debt and all that.

Dr. Disha Spath:
So this hour is for you to come and talk to other people about money. This is how we all get ahead by being more open, by learning from each other in a safe and non-public space.

Dr. Disha Spath:
I hope you'll come and join us. We do them every month, and the information is available at whitecoatinvestor.com/happyhour. There you can enter your email and see the next few happy hours coming up. And once you're in the email chain, you'll get an email about every happy hour coming up next. So, make sure you do that. Make sure you get plugged in and come join us. We're having one tonight and another one next month when this episode goes live.

Dr. Disha Spath:
We are really lucky to have Dr. Shikha Jain here on the White Coat Investor podcast. Dr. Shikha Jain is a board certified hematology and oncology physician. She's a tenured associate professor of medicine in the division of Hematology and Oncology at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She's the Director of Communication Strategies in Medicine and the Associate Director of Oncology Communication and Digital Innovation at the University of Illinois Cancer Center.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Dr. Jain is the founder and president of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Women in Medicine, and the founder and chair of the Women in Medicine Summit. She's the CEO and Co-Founder of the action, advocacy and amplification organization IMPACT.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Dr. Jain was named one of Medscape’s 25 Rising Stars in Medicine in 2020. One of Modern Healthcare's Top 25 Emerging Leaders in 2019, and also awarded the Rising Star Award by the Lead Oncology Conference in 2019.

Dr. Disha Spath:
She's a nationally renowned keynote speaker and has written for several national publications including USA Today, CNN, Good Morning America, Scientific American, The Hill, US News, Newsweek, and has been interviewed in the New York Times and Washington Post. She is a regular TV contributor on FOX 32 and has been a guest on ABC7, CBS, WGN, and other national media outlets. Welcome Dr. Jain.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Thanks so much for having me. This is going to be really fun. I'm excited for this conversation.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Whew. I'm out of breath reading your introduction. That is quite impressive. I saw you on TV this morning.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
I think I need to start sending a shorter bio.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Oh, no. Actually this was the short version of your bio. The longer version was even more impressive. But thank you so much for being here.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Today we're going to be diving into being women in medicine. As I said earlier, you are the founder of the Women in Medicine Summit, and I've been so fortunate to be invited to speak there at the last couple of years. It's really a transformative experience for women to talk about our struggles, our experience, and to commiserate and learn from each other.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Can you tell us a little bit about you and what brought you to start this amazing organization?

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Yeah, thank you so much. It's been a long road, I will say. We've grown quite a bit since our first year. I started the Women in Medicine Summit because I actually had been on maternity leave with my twins. I have three kids, eight, five and five now. And I went on maternity leave and I was doing more on Twitter because I had recently published some op-eds. My institution had said, you need to get more engaged on social media.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
I started to read what other women in medicine were sharing about things that had happened to them. And I realized that a lot of things that had happened to me throughout my training and my career were not because I wasn't a good physician, not because I didn't deserve a certain award or accolade or opportunity, but in actuality it was because there were a lot of barriers in the healthcare system that were intrinsic to the way the system was set up.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And because I had never talked to anyone about it, because I'd never told anyone about my struggles, I just thought that I was the problem and I thought that I had really not done something right and that had resulted in whatever the outcomes were.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And so, I came back from maternity leave with this newfound desire to create an opportunity for women to come together and really talk about these challenges. But more than that, because my dad is a surgeon and has told me, “You don't just come with problems, you come with solutions.”

Dr. Shikha Jain:
For me, the opportunity to create a conference that was really about talking about the problems, but then really focusing on solutions. Providing professional development, providing ways to fix the system, providing ways to get allies. So, male allies involved and engaged.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
These were all things that were really important to me because I felt like if I'd had something like that earlier in my career, I may have had a different experience going through training and then as a junior faculty.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And so, I created the summit and the first year it was really successful. I was fortunate in that the year before I'd actually created Women in Medicine programming at Northwestern, where I had been on faculty at the time. And I used my knowledge from that event to expand and grow this Women in Medicine summit.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And since then it's become this amazing conference where what I've been told, I can say this objectively, even though subjectively I think it's amazing since I made it, but objectively people have told me that it's been life changing for them.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
It's been transformative as you mentioned, because not only do you get the leadership training, not only do you get the negotiation skills, the financial skills from you when you speak there, and the CME, you also create these networks and communities across the country and now across the globe that have actually resulted in many of the people who attend getting opportunities for media appearances, getting opportunities for collaboration and research, getting mentorship and sponsorship opportunities.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
The connections that have been forged at the last couple of summits have really resulted in the advancement of countless women in medicine. And my hope is that as we continue to grow, we continue to see not only women, but also men who are taking up the torch and figuring out ways to fix the system within their own institutions and nationally.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Actually the first person who registered for the 2023 summit was a man.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Wow.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
A lot of male allies are attending now because we created programming dedicated to allyship as well, and helping men understand how they can be more inclusive leaders and how they can really work towards creating environments and creating structures and systems that allow for more diversity and more leadership at the top that is not just the same homogenous group of people we've seen for the last hundred years.

Dr. Disha Spath:
That's amazing. Tell us a little bit more about what brought you to medicine and what your experience was in medicine that really prompted you to start this huge movement.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
I knew that I wanted to be a doctor since I was a little kid. There were times in college where I dabbled with other ideas, but I really thought that I wanted to be a doctor from the time I was little and I would shadow my dad. I would be six, seven years old and it'd be a Sunday and I'd have nothing to do. So, my dad would take me to the hospital to round on his post-op patients.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And seeing that relationship that my dad had with his patients, either in the community or in the hospital, to me that was such a special relationship and I really loved the science. The more I learned about medicine, I really was just enthralled by being able to take care of people, help people navigate sometimes the most difficult parts of their lives and then develop these long-lasting relationships with patients and their families. That's how I decided to go into medicine.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
The challenge was as I went through my training and as I became faculty, I started to notice that I was being treated a little bit differently than some of my colleagues. And I initially thought, again, it must be me because the way I was raised was you work hard, you will succeed. If you realize you have deficiencies, you work on them, you improve on them, and then you will continue to grow.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Unfortunately, what I saw happening to myself and my colleagues would be two people would be exactly the same, let's say on their CV or in their accomplishments or how they presented on rounds. And somehow I kept noticing the men were getting offered the leadership positions. The men were getting offered opportunities for networking or they were getting offered opportunities to collaborate on research.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
I actually had people tell me that the work I was doing was a waste of time. I had people tell me that the work I was doing was not going to contribute to the national dialogue. When I found out I was pregnant, I had people tell me that I was failing the medical field because I was taking time off for maternity leave, which I did not take as much time as you really should take after you've had a C-section.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
I was back as quickly as possible because I didn't want to impact my training. When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I had people telling me, “Oh, I was going to put you up for this opportunity, but now I'm not going to because you're having twins. So I can't imagine you'd want to.”

Dr. Shikha Jain:
When I interviewed for a position, I had a person actually tell me to my face that I would never be able to go full-time because he assumed I wanted more children. And so, there was no reason for me to go full-time. So he would take on any extra patients that came on.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And these are just the more benign comments. I had people sexually harass me. I had people basically threaten me. And I honestly brushed all of these things off because I really assumed that I had done something wrong. And it wasn't until I started speaking to other women that I realized that my experience was not unique to me.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
My husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, used to ask me, “Why does this stuff keep happening to you?” And initially I thought, “Yeah, that's a good question. Why does this stuff keep happening to me? It's not happening to him.”

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And then when I started talking to other women, I said, “Hey honey, why don't you talk to some of the other women that you work with and just mention, don't say it's me, just mention the experiences that I've had and see what they say.” And if they say, “Wow, that's really strange”, then you're right, this is something that's just happening to me.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And he came back to me and he said, “Oh my gosh, this is happening to so many people.” And I said, “I know.” And he said, “Why do I not know about it?” And I said, “Well, one, you're a man, so it hasn't happened to you so you don't see it. And two, I said, there's a stigma about talking about these things.” I don't talk about this to anyone because if I talk about it to someone, they're going to think that I am less than or that I am to blame because that's what's happened to my other female colleagues who brought these things up.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And so for me, the reason that I really ended up in this position doing this work, which if you'd asked me 10 years ago, there's no way, not a chance I would've thought I'd be doing this particular work in healthcare. But it became so pervasive and so egregious in some of these situations that I knew being the person that I am, I see a problem, I want to fix it. I couldn't imagine continuing on in healthcare without trying to do something to fix these problems.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Yeah. Your message really hits a note with everyone because like you said, it is a pervasive problem and a lot of us don't want to bring it up because it makes us feel we don't want to be the victim. We're the type of people that are willing and able to pull us ourselves up through our efforts and with our bootstraps. And we certainly don't want to admit that there's anything else going on that could be hindering us. So thank you so much for bringing that to light.

Dr. Disha Spath:
We are a financial podcast, so we should talk about the money portion of it too. There's a lot of talk about a gender wage gap. It's been talked about throughout society and especially in medicine there seems to be reports of a wage gap. Is it real Shikha? Do you think that's a real thing?

Dr. Shikha Jain:
A hundred percent. It's real. It's not even an opinion. I speak on this all the time and oftentimes I get the one person who says, “Well, in my practice everyone gets paid the same.” And I say, that's great. Your anecdotal evidence and anecdotal experience is really no match for the amount of mountains and mountains of data, objective data we have that proves the pay gap is not only real, it's quite bad.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
We've actually shown Dr. Vinny Arora published a paper just a few years ago showing for female physicians over a projected 40 year career, they can lose up to $2 million in their career.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Wow.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And all of these studies that we talk about, these studies take into account because the excuses I get are, “Oh, women get pregnant, women go part-time.” All of these studies have taken into account maternity leave, family leave, part-time versus full-time, RBU generation. They've taken into account all of these things and they still without fail have shown a persistent wage gap, which we see in society, as you mentioned.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And for women with intersectional identities, for women of color, the wage gap is even more profound. And so, it's not a question of is there a wage gap? It's a question of how do we fix this wage gap that we 100% know exists?

Dr. Disha Spath:
What are some factors that might explain this wage gap?

Dr. Shikha Jain:
There's a lot of things that factor into it. Number one, I want everyone to remember that when the healthcare system was created, women were not in the healthcare workforce. And so, the way that we compensate our physicians, and not just physicians, nurses as well. There's a wage gap in the nursing field as well.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
When you look at the way that we compensate people, the work that is usually dedicated or allocated to women is not compensated. Women are often allocated to what Dr. Julie Silver refers to as citizenship tasks. So, getting put on committees, organizing potlucks, working on DEI initiatives, working on mental health, working on wellness. A lot of those things are really relegated into the female category often, and that work is often uncompensated and people do it in their free time because they know it's important.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
McKinsey and LeanIn came out with a report a couple years ago that showed during the pandemic, the majority of the invisible work that was done during the pandemic was done by women. And when we talk about invisible work, again, we talk about things like making sure your employees are happy and healthy, making sure mental health is taken care of, making sure that diversity and equity are at the forefront.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And many institutions and organizations get awards for these things. They get more money for these things, they get accolades because they're doing so well, but that work is not compensated. And not only is it not compensated, it's not even really recognized or awarded.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
In the survey that McKinsey put out, the majority of the women surveyed said they never felt like they had been told that they were doing a good job. And many of them were considering leaving the workforce altogether.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Dr. Amy Gottlieb with the AAMC, made a comment, when the AAMC report came out talking about the wage gap. And she said the problem is the way healthcare compensates people, it devalues the contributions of women. So, we really need to think about how we compensate people and we need to readjust what we are compensating for.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
The second really big issue that there was a paper that just came out recently on is the amount of time women spend with patients and the amount of time women spend on the EMR responding to patients.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
The data shows that women get more messages from their patients and women spend more time responding and doing that work and spending time in the electronic medical record. Not because they aren't tech savvy, not because they don't understand how to use it, but because they simply just have more work to do.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And it's been hypothesized. It's because patients often feel that women are better communicators, they feel more comfortable talking to them. They feel more comfortable just messaging them as if it's an email. And so, that time, again, it's not compensated and it's not valued.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And all of this has resulted in studies coming out that shows that the outcomes of the patients that are being treated by female physicians are actually better in some situations than the male colleagues.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
There was a study that showed women physicians had lower readmission rates. Women physicians had lower mortality and morbidity with their patients. Women's surgeons who operated on women patients actually had less complications and less mortalities.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
All of this just goes to show that women are working extremely hard and they're providing exceptional care, but the work they're doing is not compensated at the same level as the work that their male colleagues are doing.

Dr. Disha Spath:
It does seem so insurmountable. The amount of factors that go into this wage gap. What can women do to overcome it on an individual basis? What can we do as women in medicine to get better contracts, to get better compensation?

Dr. Shikha Jain:
There's a lot that we can do. From an individual standpoint, I think it's really important to have allies and people in your corner. You need to have sponsors. You need to have stakeholders who care about you staying at the institution who can help you negotiate. They may be able to help you by telling you what other people's salaries are. They may be able to help you by telling you what you should be asking for.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
I actually have emailed people before negotiating for a new contract and said, “What all should I be asking for? I have no idea what I should ask.” And men do it all the time. I've had men reach out to me, men reach out to each other. Finding people to ask really the questions of “What should I be asking for and what should I be getting paid?”

Dr. Shikha Jain:
You should be looking at the national data and looking what the median and average is of somebody in your position, in your location. There's MGMA data that you can access that can help you with that information.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And at the end of the day this isn't a man versus woman thing. I'm talking about gender in the binary because that's how most of the studies have been done. But this isn't a men versus women's situation. This is really trying to find the right allies and stakeholders who are going to help you negotiate for yourself and make sure you don't undervalue yourself or undersell yourself. Because women often don't like asking. It's uncomfortable.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Even I feel uncomfortable when I ask my boss, “I want more protected time for this. I'm doing this much work. I feel like I should be compensated for this.” It's always we've been taught not to talk about money. We've been taught that it's not polite to talk about your salary or your money. And that is how we've ended up in this situation that we're in today.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
I think from a leadership standpoint, we really need to be focusing on transparency, which can be very difficult. I know a lot of institutions have hired an outside consulting firm to do a kind of analysis and an audit of what their pay looks like, but then that data's often not given to the employees or the people who work in the hospital or the institution.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Transparency is really key, and we need to be advocating for ourselves and for others. When I have my fellows who are negotiating for new contracts, I will tell them, okay, I know you're going for your first negotiation. Here are the things that you should ask for. Figure out what are your non-negotiables. There are some things that are absolutely must, like I must have X number of weeks of vacation. I must have X amount of CME of funding. I must have X amount of a bonus or of a salary that I'm starting with.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
There are some things that are going to be non-negotiable, and then there's some things that you need to think about “Well, is this something that we could negotiate on?” I always say ask for more than what you actually want. Because if you shoot for the stars and you fall around the clouds, that's better than falling down on the ground. So find out what you really need and think ahead of time what is your floor and what is your ceiling?

Dr. Disha Spath:
Okay, you mentioned finding allies and sponsors. Can you elaborate on that for me?

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Yeah. It's really important to find allies and sponsors. It doesn't just have to be people in leadership. It can also be allies and sponsors who are at your same level. I often talk to a person who's recently negotiated a contract at the same institution, and I'll say, “What did you ask for? Do you have any ideas on what I should or shouldn't ask for?” It does help having allies in leadership.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And at the end of the day, everyone who you work for is going to want you to be successful. And so, the way I always frame it is, I want to exceed your expectations in this position. I want to be the best employee, the best physician, the best whatever it is that you are hiring. In order to meet and exceed your expectations, these are the things that I meet and that's kind of how I approach it.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And when you find those allies, they can sometimes help you and say, “Well, these things are not going to happen, but these things are negotiable.” Sometimes what I do is I will talk to one of those allies ahead of time and I will say, “This is what I'm going in with, do you think this is good? How should I present this?”

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Because at the end of the day, you need to present it in a way where the person you're talking to is going to respond positively. You don't want to leave with a negative feeling in your stomach or in their stomach. And so, pitching it to one of those allies that you found ahead of time can be really helpful.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And again, you can do it to people at your own level and you can also do it at somebody who's more senior than you who might have more experience. And it doesn't have to be somebody at your institution. Most of the people who I've gone to have been people at other institutions because then what you can say is, well, I know at University X or at hospital system X, this is what they offer to their employees. This is what I would like to ask because I know this is what's being offered down the street. So, sometimes it can be really helpful to even have those allies outside of your own institution.

Dr. Disha Spath:
And how do you go about finding these allies and sponsors?

Dr. Shikha Jain:
That is a tough one because it depends on where you are in your career. If you're a trainee, talk to the people within your organization. Talk to somebody who you've been doing research with or mentorship with. Find somebody who is doing what you want to do and ask them.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Social media is a great way to find people like that. I found a lot of amazing allies, sponsors, mentors, and just listening ears through Twitter. And what I've done sometimes is I'll tweet out I'm looking for someone who knows about X and people will reach out.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Sometimes what I do is I will find somebody who's doing exactly what I want to do and I will message them and say, Hey, I'm looking for a position. I'm negotiating. Do you have a few minutes to talk? I'd love to hear about your position and how you negotiated for what you got.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
I've had people reach out to me. I am I think one of the first, if not the first director of communication for a cancer center in the country. And it's not a really known position. I created it and I've had people reach out to me and say, I'm meeting with my leadership tomorrow and I want to have a position similar to yours. What did you ask for? How did you get it paid for? What are the things that you put in the job description?

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Find someone who's doing what you want to do, whether it's at your institution or not. And you can email them, you can send them message through social media. You can ask if one of your mentors knows them and can connect you. There's lots of ways to do that. Sometimes you just have to step outside of your comfort zone.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Yeah, I've really found that people are so helpful and willing to offer information if you just reach out and ask. Thank you so much for doing that for other people, and I highly encourage other women to do the same.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Going back, you mentioned the COVID pandemic and how it's sort of affected the wage gap. How has the COVID pandemic affected women in medicine? I happen to know you recently wrote a paper about it.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
I did recently write a paper about it. What we've seen with the pandemic is women are working more at home. And so, they're increasing their home/work responsibilities. How many of us if we have children, had to do virtual learning with our children while also trying to manage our full-time jobs?

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Women are doing more work at home in general. That's kind of societally how the system has been set up. We're seeing more men take on more of that work now, but we saw that gap widen during the pandemic and sick leave, taking care of elderly family members. That's another thing that women started having to do more at home.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Arranging vaccine appointments, getting doctor's appointments, all of that stuff that before women typically who were working had a pretty good system in place. That system kind of crumbled with childcare and schools being closed and not being able to have nannies or babysitters in the house. That was a huge challenge.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
We're seeing women publish less. And again, it's not because women aren't ambitious and women aren't interested, it's because there's a finite number of hours in the day, and when you get 6,000 other things piled on your shoulders, it's sometimes hard to prioritize things like academic publications.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And not only that, again, women weren't getting offered those opportunities for the same reason that I mentioned earlier. People think, “Oh, they're too busy doing home things, so I'm not even going to offer them the opportunity.”

Dr. Shikha Jain:
We also saw women just having less time for everything that's been documented and documented that we saw a significant change in the amount of time that women had to do things like Zoom virtual happy hours or socializing after work and things like that.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
We also saw a widening of the pay gap. And what happened was, I don't know if you remember near the beginning of the pandemic, there were freezes put on for bonuses and there were freezes put on for promotions because everything was kind of focused on the pandemic response.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And the thought was that these would be temporary. But unfortunately, even a short amount of time where you have your bonuses frozen or you have your ability to ascend and get a higher amount of a salary to be frozen for a short amount of time, that can actually have long-term impacts on your overall ability to make X amount of dollars over a career.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And so, the temporary changes that we saw at the beginning of the pandemic and the temporary kind of stop gaps that were put in place were starting to see now how they're really impacting women in medicine and how they're going to continue to impact them probably for years to come.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Absolutely. We've really covered a lot of great topics here. Thank you Dr. Jain. Do you have any parting thoughts for our listeners? Any way to lift them up and help them get over this wage gap, get over COVID’s impact on us?

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Well, I am always a solutions type person and I am typically pretty positive, although a lot of the stuff I talk about seems very depressing and sad because it's 2023 and we still have all of these pervasive inequities.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
My biggest challenge to everyone out there is thinking really hard about why do these systems still exist the way they do and who are they really serving? Because at the end of the day, we have a healthcare crisis for everyone. It's not just women. The pandemic has really laid bare the deficiencies in our healthcare system and it's resulted in what they call a great resignation where we see so many physicians, nurses, healthcare workers, men and women leaving the field.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
At the end of the day, when we advocate for people to be treated equitably, when we advocate for men and women and people of all colors and all genders to be paid equally, to be treated equally, to be advanced equitably, we really end up with a trickle-down effect where the patients benefit, a trickle-down effect where the institutions benefit.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Studies have shown that institutions with more diversity at the top actually have higher retention rates, they get more awards, they get more accolades, they get more money. All of these things, regardless of whether you think it's the right thing to do or not, they have positive impacts at all levels. It's really past time for us to shine a light on this and for us to fix it. People have been talking about this for decades, and there are so many people who have worked so hard to try to move things forward.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
We're at a point now where we're at a watershed moment where we have an opportunity to really fix the system and repair and replace a lot of these structures that have been placed for years that are very antiquated.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
I encourage you to think critically about what you as an individual can do to start working towards fixing some of these challenges we talked about. Think outside of your normal circle, offer opportunities to people you wouldn't normally think of. And if you're in leadership, it's time to start thinking really critically about what am I doing at my institution to make sure that we are really focusing on providing an equitable environment for the people who work here and for our patients.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Because at the end of the day, it's not about DEI or diversity, equity and inclusion, it's not about that buzzword. It's really about figuring out how to provide the best care to our patients. And the data consistently shows that in order to do that, we need to make sure we're also treating our healthcare workers equitably.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And so, I encourage everyone to come to the Women in Medicine Summit. It's September 22nd and 23rd in Chicago, open to people of all genders and at all stages in their careers. Whether you're retired or in the C-suite or just starting out and a first year attending, there's a lot of opportunities for growth and leadership development for people of all genders. We have a lot of other programming through our Women in Medicine nonprofit as well.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Whether it's through our organization and through other organizations, I would recommend you looking for those resources because a lot of them exist and they can really help you transform your organization and they can help you transform your own personal and professional life to lead a life where you're actually happy in your job, where you're actually wanting to go to work, where you actually feel excited and you remember why you went into medicine in the first place.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
It's possible to retain that joy for your entire career. We just need to be thinking how do we really protect and take care of our healthcare workers to make sure our healthcare system doesn't completely implode as we continue to navigate the long-term outcomes of this pandemic.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Thank you. Dr. Jain. Where can our listeners find you if they have more questions?

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Well, I'm pretty easy to find. I'm on Twitter and Instagram and LinkedIn and Facebook. I'm at Shikha Jain, MD on most of those platforms. On LinkedIn, I think I'm Shikha Jain, MD, FACP. You can also find me on the Women in Medicine social media handles at WIM Summit on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram as well.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
And I have a website shikhajainmd.com, where you can find ways to contact me there as well. And I'd be happy to hear from anyone who's interested in getting involved or just talking more about any of these topics.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Thank you so much Dr. Jain for coming and sharing your wisdom with us and for sharing your time with us today. It's been a really wonderful conversation.

Dr. Shikha Jain:
Thanks so much for having me.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Absolutely.

Dr. Disha Spath:
What an insightful conversation with Dr. Jain. Whether we're men or women, we all suffer if a colleague is suffering. We all suffer if we lose someone in our practice. We all suffer if they're unhappy and it pays for everyone if we close the gender wage gap and work on the factors that created it in the first place.

Dr. Disha Spath:
What I really loved about this conversation is that not only did we identify the problem, Dr. Jain also offered several solutions. And those solutions were largely centered around helping each other.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Finding allies and sponsors, reaching out to people that have the jobs that we want, and asking them, simply asking them for help, asking them for truthful information about what they're getting paid and how you can get the same and how you can advocate for yourself. And honestly, a lot of people are willing to help.

Dr. Disha Spath:
I hope you'll become one of the people that will reach down and help the next person after you to get their pay to keep them in medicine because we all need people to work with us, to be our colleagues and stay in medicine.

Dr. Disha Spath:
I hope we can learn something from this conversation with Dr. Jain and go forward and I hope you'll attend the Women in Medicine Summit. I'll be speaking there this year again about finances. It really is one of the most actionable conferences I found for women to help each other and get that allyship that's so critical to our success.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Don't forget, this podcast is sponsored by a locumstory. Everyone has a story, different needs, wants, and goals, and how to attain them. Your story determines your solution. Whatever your solution and story, locum tenens should be part of that conversation.

Dr. Disha Spath:
How do you find out if locums is a good option for you? Go to an unbiased, informative source like locumstory.com. You'll learn all the ins and outs of locums, details on travel and housing, assignment coordination, tax information, and more.

Dr. Disha Spath:
You'll also hear first-hand stories from locums physicians from all walks of life, so you get a bigger picture of the diverse options. Get a comprehensive view of locums and decide if it's right for you at locumstory.com. Speaking of sharing our experiences, Locumstory is a great place to do that as well.

Dr. Disha Spath:
All right. Don't forget about our women's happy hours. We're doing them every month. And you can sign up at whitecoatinvestor.com/happyhour. That's where you're going to find the place to enter your email so you are in the know about the next one coming up. And remember to bring your favorite cocktail or non-alcoholic beverage and come and just chit chat with us about whatever you want to talk about as related to finances.

Dr. Disha Spath:
And also, don't forget to leave us a five star review and tell your friends about the podcast so we can spread the good word. Here's one by a medical student. “Excellent. A worthwhile listen for anyone at any stage in their medical career.” Short and sweet, and thank you for spreading the word.

Dr. Disha Spath:
Head up, shoulders back, you've got this, and we can help at the White Coat Investor. We'll see you next time.

Disclaimer:
The hosts of the White Coat Investor podcast are not licensed accountants, attorneys, or financial advisors. This podcast is for your entertainment and information only. It should not be considered professional or personalized financial advice. You should consult the appropriate professional for specific advice relating to your situation.