Purpose: A diverse medical school faculty is critical to preparing physicians to provide quality care to an increasingly diverse nation. The authors sought to compare experiences of underrepresented in medicine minority (URMM) faculty with those of non-URMM faculty in a nationally representative sample of medical schools.
Method: In 2007-2009, the authors surveyed a stratified random sample of 4,578 MD and PhD full-time faculty from 26 U.S. medical schools. Multiple regression models were used to test for differences between URMM and other faculty on 12 dimensions of academic culture. Weights were used to adjust for oversampling of URMM and female faculty.
Results: The response rate was 52%, or 2,381 faculty. The analytic sample was 2,218 faculty: 512 (23%) were URMM, and 1,172 (53%) were female, mean age 49 years. Compared with non-URMM faculty, URMM faculty endorsed higher leadership aspirations but reported lower perceptions of relationships/inclusion, gave their institutions lower scores on URMM equity and institutional efforts to improve diversity, and more frequently engaged in disparities research. Twenty-two percent (115) had experienced racial/ethnic discrimination. For both values alignment and institutional change for diversity, URMM faculty at two institutions with high proportions (over 50%) of URMM faculty rated these characteristics significantly higher than their counterparts at traditional institutions.
Conclusions: Encouragingly, for most aspects of academic medicine, the experiences of URMM and non-URMM faculty are similar, but the differences raise important concerns. The combination of higher leadership aspirations with lower feelings of inclusion and relationships might lead to discouragement with academic medicine.