Factors and scenarios influencing Arab Americans' preference for male versus female physicians

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Journal of the National Medical Association


As the Arab American community sees an increase in female physicians, knowledge of patients' perceptions is necessary to foster the physician-patient relationship. The objective of this study was to better understand physician gender preference among Arab Americans when given a range of selected medical scenarios. An anonymous survey was distributed electronically through social media. The survey elicited gender preferences of Arab Americans given different scenarios. Data was collected from 325 participants. No physician gender preference was noted for 6 out of 7 scenarios with the exception for sensitive medical issues. Same-sex gender preference was noted in the cases of sensitive medical issues, routine medical visits, medical emergencies, and minor medical procedures. Predominant visitations to male physicians across specialties was found. The current study shows that although most Arab Americans expressed no preference for physician gender, the majority currently visit male physicians. The study highlights similarities to other populations in terms of same-sex physician gender preference when it comes to patient choices. Our study shows, however, that physicians' experience and empathy were leading criteria as opposed to gender or Arab identity when it came to physician selection by Arab American patients.

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ePub ahead of print