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Women now majority of younger Va. physicians

Tuesday - 5/1/2012, 12:20pm  ET

RICHMOND, Va. - The majority of younger Virginia physicians are women for the first time in the state's history but men still dominate the overall ranks, a state report released Tuesday said.

Fifty-three percent of physicians under 35 are women, while two-thirds of all physicians are men, according to the report released Tuesday by the Virginia Department of Health Professions' Healthcare Workforce Data Center.

The report is based on surveys submitted by 26,266 physicians, or 75 percent of all physicians in the state.

According to the report, the median age of Virginia physicians is 49, compared to 42 for other sectors. Almost 70 percent of the survey participants indicated that they plan to retire within the next 15 years.

More physicians age 55 and older worked full time hours in 2010 than in 2008, while the rate for younger physicians declined.

"These trends could be tied to both the recent economic recession and the lifestyle preferences of the next generation of practitioners. They coincide with a time when the medical needs of baby boomers continue to expand and the physicians who deliver their care are also aging," said Elizabeth Carter, director of the data center.

About a third of the physicians completed their residences in Virginia and 22 percent graduated from medical schools in the state.

Almost 25 percent reported hospitals as their primary practices, while about a third of physicians are part of group practices. Fifteen percent are in solo practices.

The state's data will help the Medical Society of Virginia develop strategies to meet future patient needs, said Dr. Hugh Bryan III of Gloucester, the group's president.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Tags: physicians