Factors That Influence the Choice of Academic Pediatrics by Underrepresented Minorities

Pediatrics. 2019 Aug;144(2):e20182759. doi: 10.1542/peds.2018-2759. Epub 2019 Jul 23.


Objectives: Our objective for this study was to explore the experiences of faculty in academic pediatrics who are underrepresented minorities (URMs) at 2 urban medical centers, in particular, the experiences that influenced their pursuit of academic pediatrics.

Methods: Three focus groups were conducted in 2016 with URM faculty from Howard University College of Medicine and Children's National Health System to explore how they were influenced to pursue academic pediatrics. Ten 1-on-1 interviews were also conducted in 2017 with URM faculty at Children's National Health System. Focus groups were coded and analyzed by the research team using standard qualitative methods. The 1-on-1 interviews were coded and analyzed by the primary investigator and verified by members of the research team.

Results: A total of 25 faculty participated in the study (15 in the focus groups and 10 in individual interviews). Eighteen of the faculty were women and 7 were men. Findings revealed that mentorship, family, and community influenced participants' career choices. Barriers for URMs in academic pediatrics included (1) lack of other URMs in leadership positions, (2) few URMs practicing academic pediatrics, and (3) the impact of racism and gender and implicit bias in the medical field.

Conclusions: Mentorship and family are major influences on why URMs become academic pediatricians. Lack of URMs in leadership positions, racism, gender bias, and implicit bias are barriers for URMs in academic pediatrics. More research should be conducted on ways to enhance the experience of URMs and to reduce barriers in academia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Career Choice*
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Faculty, Medical / education
  • Faculty, Medical / psychology*
  • Family Relations / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mentors / education
  • Mentors / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups / psychology*
  • Pediatrics* / education