Race and Medicine

Race and Medicine

Source: Healio Interview
Disclosures: Kamran reports no relevant financial disclosures.
April 15, 2022
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VIDEO: Representation in medicine fails to reflect diversifying US population

Source: Healio Interview
Disclosures: Kamran reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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Representation of individuals underrepresented in academic medicine is further away from reflecting the U.S. population today than it was in 2000, according to findings published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

“Despite previous calls to action, we are now sounding the alarm, as our country inches closer to a ‘majority minority’ nation of persons who need a more representative physician workforce,” Sophia C. Kamran, MD, a radiation oncologist at Massachusetts General Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School, and colleagues wrote.

Kamran and colleagues compared U.S. Census data with data that were compiled by the Association of American Medical Colleges for full-time faculty members in 18 clinical academic departments from 1977 to 2019.

While the proportion of women in academic medicine has risen to match the U.S. general population more closely, individuals underrepresented in medicine experienced modest increases in representation. Specifically, the proportion of Black men in academic medicine plateaued and is now decreasing, according to the researchers. Also, representation of non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander individuals, American Indian and Alaskan Native individuals remained below 1% during all 4 decades analyzed.

“The national racial and ethnic group composition of the U.S. is undergoing historic transformation, with notable increases in multiracial, Hispanic and Asian populations in the past decade,” Kamran and colleagues wrote. “Medicine has clearly not kept pace, and the allocation of additional resources to support targeted, evidence-based approaches will be a critical step forward.”

In this video, Kamran discusses her findings and how the lack of diversity impacts the medical profession.

References:

Diversity in U.S. medicine is not keeping pace with population changes, analysis finds. https://www.massgeneral.org/news/press-release/Diversity-in-us-medicine-is-not-keeping-pace-with-population-changes. Published April 6, 2022. Accessed April 7, 2022.

Kamran SC, et al. NEJM. 2022;doi:10.1056/NEJMsr2114909.