For the past 20 years, the percentage of the American population consisting of nonwhite minorities has been steadily increasing. By 2050, these nonwhite minorities, taken together, are expected to become the majority. Meanwhile, despite almost 50 years of efforts to increase the representation of minorities in the healthcare professions, such representation remains grossly deficient. Among the underrepresented minorities are African and Hispanic Americans; Native Americans, Alaskans, and Pacific Islanders (including Hawaiians); and certain Asians (including Hmong, Vietnamese, and Cambodians). The underrepresentation of underrepresented minorities in the healthcare professions has a profoundly negative effect on public health, including serious racial and ethnic health disparities. These can be reduced only by increased recruitment and development of both underrepresented minority medical students and underrepresented minority medical school administrators and faculty. Underrepresented minority faculty development is deterred by barriers resulting from years of systematic segregation, discrimination, tradition, culture, and elitism in academic medicine. If these barriers can be overcome, the rewards will be great: improvements in public health, an expansion of the contemporary medical research agenda, and improvements in the teaching of both underrepresented minority and non-underrepresented minority students.