As we commemorate Women’s History Month, established by Congress in 1987, it’s important to acknowledge the continued underrepresentation of women physicians in the United States. Men physicians dominate the field, constituting 63% of the workforce. According to the American Medical Association, women physicians report more burnout than men physicians. The traditional model of healthcare delivery is not working for physicians or patients as it rewards volume rather than health outcomes. The result is a heavy burden particularly amongst primary care physicians who often have patient panels of up to 2,400 with not enough hours in the day to properly care for them. In order to attract more women to become physicians, a better model of care delivery - direct primary care that restores the clinician and patient relationship allowing for improved health outcomes needs to become the standard of care.


There are countless women physicians who made the transition from the traditional fee-for-service insurance reimbursement model to direct primary care with some who already owned practices that were dependent on insurance claims reimbursement such as Dr. Delicia Haynes or others who worked in the traditional healthcare system and ventured out to build their own direct primary care practice. No matter the path these women took to become direct primary care physicians, the result has proven to be well worth the journey.


There are many women-owned direct primary care practices that we can look to for inspiration, such as Sparrow Family Medicine, Clark Family Medicine, and Living at Your Finest Wellness. Dr. Candice Cavicchia Miller, owner of Sparrow Family Medicine in Akron, Pennsylvania (about 50 miles east of Harrisburg) launched her practice in 2022 with the goal of providing personal care to whole families from newborns to elderly grandparents. Dr. Cavicchia Miller uses evidence-based medicine and emphasizes patient education, empowering them to take an active approach in their health care journey. 


Clark Family Medicine, owned by Sharla Clark, DO is based in Pocatello, Idaho. Dr. Clark launched Clark Family Medicine in 2023 after realizing that she could not care for patients in the way that would best serve them in the traditional medical system because of the administrative burden of insurance reimbursement. At Clark Family Medicine, Dr. Sharla Clark includes services such as skin and wound care, dietician consults, osteopathic manipulations and more. Patients can also see Dr. Clark for cosmetic treatments for an additional fee.


Living at Your Finest Wellness, owned by Dr. Dolapo Babalola is based in Marietta, Georgia, about 20 miles north of Atlanta. Dr. Dolapo Babalola who is triple board-certified in Family, Obesity, and Lifestyle Medicine launched Living at Your Finest Wellness in July 2023 to provide holistic care to people of all ages. Dr. Babalola began this journey by healing herself from hypertension, osteoarthritis, excess weight, inflammation, and chronic fatigue, which meant going beyond the “band-aid” approach of merely alleviating symptoms, but instead going deeper to address the root causes of her health issues. Drawing upon the six-pillars of lifestyle medicine, Dr. Babalola has been able to help her patients reverse chronic conditions. She also offers wellness programs and online courses to support her patients' wellness journeys.


With direct primary care, there is an opportunity to draw more people into the field of medicine, and particularly family medicine, including more women. Within the DPC model, practicing physicians not only experience a better quality of life and avoid burnout, but also contribute to patients receiving better care, which results in positive health outcomes, creating a win-win. It’s essential to create the space for women to thrive in medicine and address the gaps of representation to improve health equity for all.



American Medical Association