Authors: Kathryn Kearns; Ching-Jen Chen, MD; M. Yashar Kalani, MD, PhD; Mark Shaffrey, MD; Min Park, MD (Charlottesville, VA)


We investigated any potential association between gender and salary and identified factors associated with salary, among academic neurosurgeons in public institutions across the US.


This is a cross-sectional study of publicly-available data for the 2016-17 fiscal years of institutions from the AANS Neurosurgical Residency Training Program Directory. Neurosurgical faculty from public, academic institutions within the US with publicly available data in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act were included. The reported total annual salary (US dollars [US$]) was used in the analysis. Differences in demographics, training, and appointments were compared between male and female neurosurgeons. Predictors of salary were identified using univariable and non-imputed and multiply-imputed multivariable models.


460 faculty members were examined (female n=34; male n=426). Total annual salaries were comparable between male and female neurosurgeons. Female neurosurgeons were more likely to be younger (p=0.001), to have had completed training recently (p=0.003), to have had fellowship training (p=0.011), and to have lower h-indices (p=0.003) compared to male neurosurgeons. Male and female neurosurgeons differed in academic ranks (p=0.035) and specialties (p=0.038). Practice in the Midwest (aβ=-US$337,516.7, p=0.002), South (aβ=-US$302,500.5, p=0.003), and West (aβ=-US$276,848.8, p=0.005) were independent predictors of lower total annual salary in reference to practice in the East. Chair position (aβ=US$174,180.3, p=0.019) and associate professor rank (aβ=US$126,633.4, p=0.037) in reference to assistant professor rank were independent predictors of higher total annual salary. Gender was not a significant predictor of total annual salary.


Total annual salaries were not different between male and female neurosurgeons in public, academic institutions in the US. Furthermore, gender was not a significant predictor of total annual salary. This study is applicable only to public institutions with Freedom of Information Act reporting requirements. These results may serve as encouragement to women who aspire to pursue a career in academic neurosurgery.