Investigating the Gender Pay Gap in Industry Contributions to Academic Neurosurgeons

Ledibabari M. Ngaage, Chelsea Harris, Cynthia Gao, Joseph Puthumana, George A. Crabill, Brigit Baglien, Yinglun Wu, Carly Rosen, Erin M. Rada, Mari Groves, Charles A. Sansur, Yvonne M. Rasko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: A large gender gap exists in industry funding for academic neurosurgeons. Selection criteria for funding distribution remain unclear. However, academic rank, scholarly productivity, and experience have been suggested as determining factors. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of industry payments to US academic neurosurgeons. We used online faculty listings to determine academic rank and gender, then used the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Open Payment Database to identify industry contributions. Details were collected on H-index and length of time in practice was used as a proxy for experience. Results: Of the 1481 academic neurosurgeons included, men were in the majority (91% vs. 9%, P = 0.0001). Relative to their male colleagues, female assistant and associate professors received fewer payments (4 vs. 8, P = 0.0040; 2 vs. 7, P = 0.0067) at lower median values ($409 vs. $437, P = 0.0490; $163 vs. $260, P = 0.0089). H-index was more strongly associated with general payment receipt for women academic neurosurgeons (r = 0.20, P = 0.0201) than men academic neurosurgeons (r = 0.06, P = 0.0301). Experience trended toward a significant association with industry funding in men (r = 0.05, P = 0.0601). After adjustment for scholarly productivity and experience, gender-based funding inequalities became insignificant. Conclusions: In academic neurosurgery, substantial gender disparities exist in industry payments and metrics of academic success. There may be an industry selection bias toward recruitment of key opinion and thought leaders, as identified by scholarly productivity and experience. Despite the objective gender inequalities, industry funding to academic neurosurgeons appears to be equitable when metrics of academic success are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-522.e1
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Academic success
  • Faculty
  • Gender
  • Industry funding
  • Neurosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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