Recently, I had a fascinating discussion with Dr. Naomi Busch, a Seattle-based primary care physician—who happens to be my doctor. What differentiates Dr. Busch from other physicians, however, is that she is a businesswoman who owns her practice: Greenlake Primary Care.
When Dr. Busch spotted my “No Wage Gap” campaign button, aimed at ending the 73-cent on the dollar gap between women’s and men’s wages, she didn’t hesitate to fill me in on her own past gender pay gap problem.
“That’s why I’m here,” she said simply.
She explained that, as a young mother, she had taken a part-time, six hour shift at a local clinic. She said, “I didn’t extend my day to work eight hours because I had to pick my baby up at daycare before 6 p.m. I am a highly efficient doctor and was caring for more patients in six hours than most of the men were seeing in eight. But I was paid far less: paid by the hour, while they were on salary.” Owning her own practice provided Dr. Busch the flexibility to earn a good salary and spend time with her family.
Dr. Busch is also convinced that women aren’t good at negotiating salaries. She reported asking one woman physician about her rates and was shocked at how little that woman charged. “We women are always undervaluing ourselves,” she said with just a hint of anger. “We need to have more confidence.”
Dr. Busch, who grew up in the Tri-Cities and attended college and medical school in the East, completed her residency training at Valley Medical Center in Renton. She is now settled into the Greenlake neighborhood with her husband, an orthopedic physician, and their two small children. She told me that her daughter once explained the family to a friend, saying, “My daddy heals broken bones and my mother heals everything else.”
Dr. Busch is intent, like me, on healing the gender wage gap.