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Dental School Admissions: Male vs Female Applicants (video)

Many dentists would approve of gender profiling at dental schools – that is, of favoring male dental student applicants under the theory that will, statistically, more work total hours over the course of their careers. But the slight majority oppose giving preference based on gender.

“Live with it, people,” declared a male orthodontist. “Discrimination in any form is un-American.”

“I’m a little surprised that this topic has come into the open view, but it is undeniable,” offered another dentist. “The profession is losing manpower hours at a time when there’s a call to serve more people.”

Read more – Gender and Dental School Admissions: Dentist Survey Results

Dentists Open to Gender Profiling in Dental School Admissions

Many Say It Might Be Acceptable to Favor Male Applicants

Dental Survey Results

Drum roll please! I recently asked you if certain factors might make it legitimate for dental schools to favor male applicants – and fully 42% of you said yes! Some see it as discrimination, whereas others think it would help preserve access to care.

You can also check out Jim Du Molin’s editorial examining some of the facts about gender and dentistry.

Female Dentists Support Female Dental StudentsMale versus Female Dental Practitioners

Ah, gender…

Just as you might expect, men and women were split on this question.

It’s not terribly surprising that a dentist’s gender played a significant role in a his or her opinion on this subject.

The majority of male dentists (55%) feel it would be acceptable to profile applicants based on gender.

Only one in nine female dentists (12%) agrees.

The City Mouse Disagrees with the Country MouseUrban, suburban and rural dentists

Geographic location also played a major role.

While suburban dentists were split down the middle, urban dentists showed a preference for gender-blind admissions, and rural dentists in this survey approve of screening applicants for gender.

Dentists have no shortage of opinions on this highly charged topic…

For more insight, check out these comments!

  • “Dentistry should be embarrassed by this continued pattern of stupidity.” (Male New Mexico dentist)
  • “Since when do statistics about future work patterns determine admissions to any higher educational institutions in this country? Should unemployed college graduates not have been accepted at all because they are not working members of our society?” (Female South Carolina dentist)
  • “Women who want to be dentists should not be penalized.” (Female New York pediatric dentist)
  • “What a bunch of crap. It is surely more about the money for the dental schools; as in, how much they will get back in donations.” (Male Oregon dentist)
  • “If female dentists want to be home with their children and not practice at least 30 hours/week for at least four years, they should have to pay back to the state the amount it cost to train them.” (Female Alabama dentist)
  • “I am so tired of seeing female dentists who don’t want to work. Stop taking a spot in dental school. You have an obligation to the profession. If you only want to work part-time, be a hygienist!” (Female Ohio dental office worker)
  • “A dental shortage does exist in the US, and males who can afford to work more hours per week are a significant solution to that problem.” (Male Florida dentist)
  • “As a female dentist, I still have to deal with gender bias when it comes to associate job interviews. I am still asked to this day if I am married and do I have kids at an interview! It’s bad enough that we still have to deal with this from the ‘good old boys club.’ We don’t need it in our schools too.” (Female Florida dentist)

Read the complete
gender and dental school
survey results…

Do Women Have to Choose Between Kids and a Dental Career?

Why Some People Think Dental Schools Should Favor Male Applicants

This week I’m releasing the results of my highly controversial gender and dental school survey. I’m not taking an editorial stance on the topic, but I wanted to explore why (according to some people) a dental school might favor male applicants over female.

The primary argument is one of access to care. Evidence indicates that women with young children work fewer hours than their male colleagues. Women who attend dental school, then stop practicing once they have children, received the harshest criticism. Many would argue that her spot in dental school should have instead gone to someone who would provide more dental care to more people.

Dental school is expensive, but a dental education costs even more than the price of tuition. This is especially true at state-run schools, where much of a student’s education is provided at the public’s expense. “In light of the high taxpayer cost to train dentists and the impending shortage of dentists; if female dentists want to be home with their children and not practice at least 30 hours/week for at least four years, they should have to pay back to the state the amount it cost to train them,” opined a female dentist.

Moreover, female students are outpacing their male classmates. With more female applicants than male, many schools that want to maintain an even gender balance have had to raise the bar for female prospects while they lower it for males. Schools that practice gender-blind admissions are finding their ratio of female to male students highly skewed — more than two to one at some schools! Overall, women today make up 58% of US college students. (Read the New York Times article for more info.)

But there’s one more issue at play here, and I think it’s a lot more important than most people realize. Research has consistently shown that male alumni donate more. For this reason, dental schools will quite literally make larger profits from male graduates than female. It might not be an ideal decision-making criterion, but you can never underestimate the importance of the financial bottom line.

The most comprehensive analysis of alumni donations to graduate schools was published in 1996 by The American Journal of Economics and Sociology. The study found that a fundraiser’s best target is a man with an advanced degree from the institution. There is no magic formula, but certain factors seem to correlate with an alum’s giving. The following factors affect both the likelihood and size of a graduate’s donations:

  • Gender: Men typically donate more than women. It is not clear if this is simply because men tend to earn more, or if there are other factors at play.
  • Degree type: The most money comes from a graduate’s first doctoral degree, not the undergraduate education or any additional professional degrees.
  • Age: Alumni with graduate degrees do not typically donate much money early in their careers. However, as they accumulate more wealthy later in life, they are increasingly likely to send some back to their alma mater.
  • School ties: Having other family members who have attended the same institution (particularly a spouse) raises a graduate’s giving, as does participating in alumni events.
  • Income: Though schools rarely have direct income data on individual graduates, those with degrees in higher-paying fields tend to donate more money.
  • Business and tax cycles have been shown to influence giving.

This is a bit of a “chicken or the egg” conundrum: Given that schools have tended to target their fund-raising efforts to male alumni, is it any surprise that women donate less? There are significant financial and emotional difference between men and women when it comes to donating. (Check out an old New York Times article on the subject.)

To find out more about what today’s dentists think of gender profiling, check out our complete gender and dentistry survey results. And don’t hesitate to post your own comments below!

Dentists: Does 99 Dollars an Hour Make You a Wealthy Dentist?

Dentists: Does 99 Dollars an Hour Make You a Wealthy Dentist?Dentists make $99.00 an hour, which is more than orthopaedic surgeons but less than nurse anesthetists, according to a study by Suneel B. Bhat, MD, an orthopaedic surgery resident and his colleagues at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Presented this month at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) 2012 Annual Meeting, Dr. Bhat’s study found that becoming an orthopaedic surgeon was a “poor financial investment” compared with studying law, dentistry, or anesthesia nursing, according to Medscape Today News.

“Our study, the first direct comparison of the financial return of orthopaedic surgery to other professions, highlights the point that there is a relatively lower financial value incentive for qualified individuals to enter orthopaedics compared to several other professions, which could potentially have far-reaching implications on career choice and subsequent access to care for patients,” the authors concluded.

The Medscape report revealed that the researchers found that dentists earned a cumulative career total of $6,866,796.

That was less than the $10,756,190 made by orthopaedic surgeons, the $8,381,250 made by lawyers, and the $7,338,412 made by nurse anesthetists, but more than the $3,867,504 made by nurse practitioners.

Also published in the report is the amount of debt factored into the study for orthopaedic surgery students, which has increased by $34,000 for public schools and $40,000 in private schools over the past five years.

Since 1984, the medical school tuition has raised in public institutions by 165% and in private institutions 312%. They assumed that educational loans would be deferred until the annual liability was less than 25% of earnings, and that interest on the loans was 8.25%, according to Medscape.

When hourly income was calculated, orthopaedic surgeons made $88.00 per hour, compared to $93.00 for nurse anesthetists, $130.00 for lawyers, $49.00 nurse practitioners, and $99.00 for dentists.

The lingering recession has taken a bite out of dentists’ incomes over the past 4 years with many laying off employees and postponing retirement. The average dentist salary according to the U.S. Government Bureau of Labor Statistics is $74.00 an hour, with some new dentists earning $26.00 per hour at the lower salary range, while dentists at the upper range earn $80.00 per hour.

Another recent study compared the earning of high school graduates who skipped college and grad school expenses and went directly into the trades. The study compared a plumber with no advance educational cost and debt to a physician. The plumber came out ahead on life time earnings.

The real kicker was that the physicians not only got nailed for the extra school costs and debt expense, but were taxed by the government at a higher rate on their delayed earnings.

With the cost of higher education continuing to rise and the amount of student loan debt graduates carry after graduation, do you think dentists leaving dental school today still have the opportunity to become a wealthy dentist?

For more on this study see: Dentists’ Hourly Income Better Than Orthopaedic Surgeons’

Dental School Drama Ends with $1.7M Payout

Most dentists will remember academic politics from their days in dental school, but few have seen the amount of drama Alissa Zwick has.

Zwick, 30, was asked to leave the University of Michigan’s dental school after her third year, allegedly because her clinical techniques were poor. (She maintained a B average.)

However, a federal jury sided with Zwick, finding the school’s action illegal and awarding the former student $1.7 million.

So what’s the real story? Well, it’s complicated…

Since Zwick has attention deficit disorder (ADD), she asked if she could take her exams in a private setting. Two of her professors objected to this. Associate Dean Dr. Marilyn Lantz apparently had pre-existing problems with these professors, who eventually resigned.

When this caused controversy among the students, Dr. Lantz put the blame on Zwick. Zwick’s public comments earned her first Lantz’s disapproval, then a surprising expulsion.

While the university will likely cover the damages, Dr. Lantz was named as the primary defendant. Zwick’s payout includes a million dollars in punitive damages.

Though she was admitted to seven other dental schools before Michigan, her expulsion has left her unable to get into any other dental program. So Zwick is now studying to be a speech pathologist.

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