Addressing the Minority Tax: Perspectives From Two Diversity Leaders on Building Minority Faculty Success in Academic Medicine

Acad Med. 2019 Dec;94(12):1854-1857. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002839.


This Invited Commentary explores disparities in academic medicine, known as the minority tax, through the careers of 2 men in senior positions, who are underrepresented minorities in medicine (URMMs), with the goal of sharing real-world experiences that other URMM faculty can use to their benefit. The authors use their lived experiences to document the realities of various aspects of the minority tax (i.e., isolation, mentorship, diversity efforts, and clinical assignments) and introduce a new aspect of the minority tax that has affected both of their inner decision-making processes and personal ambitions: the gratitude tax. By sharing these experiences, the authors are also able to recognize individual mentors and sponsors as well as changes in their knowledge, skills, and attitudes that affected their ability to accomplish career goals, leading to their current academic positions. Sharing experiences is a meaningful way of providing examples for other URMM faculty to follow, as well as illustrating ways in which senior leadership can help mitigate the effect of the minority tax on URMM faculty, thereby increasing equity in academic medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Career Mobility*
  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Faculty, Medical / organization & administration
  • Faculty, Medical / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Minority Groups / psychology*
  • Racism / psychology
  • Schools, Medical / organization & administration*
  • United States