Faculty diversity programs in U.S. medical schools and characteristics associated with higher faculty diversity

Acad Med. 2011 Oct;86(10):1221-8. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31822c066d.


Purpose: To describe diversity programs for racial and ethnic minority faculty in U.S. medical schools and identify characteristics associated with higher faculty diversity.

Method: The authors conducted a cross-sectional survey study of leaders of diversity programs at 106 U.S. MD-granting medical schools in 2010. Main outcome measures included African American and Latino faculty representation, with correlations to diversity program characteristics, minority medical student representation, and state demographics.

Results: Responses were obtained from 82 of the 106 institutions (77.4%). The majority of the respondents were deans, associate and assistant deans (68.3%), members of minority ethnic/racial background (65.9% African American, 14.7% Latino), and women (63.4%). The average time in the current position was 6.7 years, with approximately 50% effort devoted to the diversity program. Most programs targeted medical trainees and faculty (63.4%). A majority of programs received monetary support from their institutions (82.9%). In bivariate analysis, none of the program characteristics measured were associated with higher than the mean minority faculty representation in 2008 (3% African American and 4.2% Latino faculty). However, minority state demographics in 2008, and proportion of minority medical students a decade earlier, were significantly associated with minority faculty representation.

Conclusions: Medical student diversity 10 years earlier was the strongest modifiable factor associated with faculty diversity. Our results support intervening early to strengthen the minority medical student pipeline to improve faculty diversity. Schools located in states with low minority representation may need to commit additional effort to realize institutional diversity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Education, Medical / ethics*
  • Education, Medical / standards
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Faculty, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / education*
  • Program Evaluation / methods*
  • Schools, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Young Adult