Study Finds Limited Success for Faculty Diversity Efforts at U.S. Medical Schools

medical-symbolHistorically, Blacks and other minorities have been significantly underrepresented on the faculty of U.S. medical schools. Minority faculty have been less likely than White faculty to be promoted to senior positions and are less likely to receive research grants.

As a result of these disparities, many U.S. medical schools created faculty diversity initiatives. But a new study by researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, finds that these faculty diversity efforts at U.S. medical schools have had only limited success. Researchers examined data from the Association of American Medical Colleges and faculty rosters at all U.S.-based medical schools.

The results showed that from 2000 to 2010, the percentage of underrepresented minorities on U.S. medical school faculties increased from 6.8 percent to 8 percent. Black faculty increased only slightly, from 3.2 percent to 3.4 percent. The percentage of minorities among newly hired faculty increased from 9.4 percent to 12.1 percent during the period. Minorities were 6.3 percent of the newly promoted faculty members in 2000. This figure rose to 7.9 percent in 2010.

The authors of the study concluded, “Although it is clear that efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion are increasing, it is not clear whether minority faculty development programs are effective in general at enhancing the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority faculty.”

The article, “Minority Faculty Development Programs and Underrepresented Minority Faculty Representation at US Medical Schools,” was published in the December 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The research may be accessed here.

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