Strategies to Enhance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Pathology Training Programs: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2021 May 20. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2020-0595-RA. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Context.—: Like many medical specialties, pathology faces the ongoing challenge of effectively enriching diversity, equity, and inclusion within training programs and the field as a whole. This issue is furthered by a decline in US medical student interest in the field of pathology, possibly attributable to increasingly limited pathology exposure during medical school and medical student perceptions about careers in pathology.

Objective.—: To review the literature to identify the challenges to diversity, equity, and inclusion in pathology, with an emphasis on the pathology trainee pipeline. To evaluate the medical education literature from other medical specialties for diversity and inclusion-focused studies and initiatives, and determine the outcomes and/or approaches relevant for pathology training programs.

Data sources.—: A literature review was completed by a search of the PubMed database, as well as a similar general Google search. Additional resources, including the Web sites of the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Electronic Residency Application Service, and the National Resident Matching Program, were used.

Conclusions.—: Many strategies exist to increase diversity and encourage an inclusive and equitable training environment, and many of these strategies may be applied to the field of pathology. Interventions such as increasing exposure to the field, using a holistic application review process, and addressing implicit biases have been shown to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in many medical specialties. In addition, increasing access to elective and pipeline programs may help to bolster medical student interest in careers in pathology.