, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 133-134
Date: 30 Oct 2012

A response to “Bridging the Gender Gap in Communication Skills” by Wu and McLaughlin (2012)

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Wu and McLaughlin (2012) have cast a thoughtful eye on the topic of the physician gender gap in the arena of communication skills, which has been supported by our recent findings (Swygert et al. 2011), along with many others. They note that the findings are very consistent in the literature, but we think it’s worthwhile to point out an additional benefit—and some caveats—to including the results of our study, which used USMLE® Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) data, in the discussion of whether the communication gender gap can, or should, be addressed within undergraduate medical education.

We hope that the findings from our paper add some unique information to this well-documented topic, due to the sample size of our study and the psychometric soundness of information from an exam that is standardized and controls for the gender of the (standardized) patient. That much said, some cautions about the generalizability of standardized test findings in general, and Step 2 CS in particular, should ...

This reply refers to the comment available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10459-012-9420-x.