Facilitating Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Health Workforce

J Allied Health. 2018 Spring;47(1):58-65.


Racial and ethnic diversity in the health workforce can facilitate access to healthcare for underserved populations and meet the health needs of an increasingly diverse population. In this study, we explored 1) changes in the racial and ethnic diversity of the health workforce in the United States over the last decade, and 2) evidence on the effectiveness of programs designed to promote racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. health workforce. Findings suggest that although the health workforce overall is becoming more diverse, people of color are most often represented among the entry-level, lower-skilled health occupations. Promising practices to help facilitate diversity in the health professions were identified in the literature, namely comprehensive programs that integrated multiple interventions and strategies. While some efforts have been found to be promising in increasing the interest, application, and enrollment of racial and ethnic minorities into health profession schools, there is still a missing link in understanding persistence, graduation, and careers.

MeSH terms

  • Career Choice*
  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Ethnicity*
  • Government Programs
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Program Evaluation
  • Racial Groups*
  • United States