Towards a common lexicon for equity, diversity, and inclusion work in academic medicine

BMC Med Educ. 2022 Oct 4;22(1):703. doi: 10.1186/s12909-022-03736-6.


Differential rewarding of work and experience has been a longtime feature of academic medicine, resulting in a series of academic disparities. These disparities have been collectively called a cultural or minority "tax," and, when considered beyond academic medicine, exist across all departments, colleges, and schools of institutions of higher learning-from health sciences to disciplines located on university campuses outside of medicine and health. A shared language can provide opportunities for those who champion this work to pool resources for larger impacts across the institution. This article aims to catalog the terms used across academic medicine disciplines to establish a common language describing the inequities experienced by Black, Latinx, American Indian/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, Women, and other underrepresented people as well as queer, disabled, and other historically marginalized or excluded groups. These ideas are specific to academic medicine in the United States, although many can be used in academic medicine in other countries. The terms were selected by a team of experts in equity, diversity, and inclusion, (EDI) who are considered national thought leaders in EDI and collectively have over 100 years of scholarship and experience in this area.

Keywords: Diversity; Equity; Inclusion; Medical education; Minority faculty; Special populations; Underserved populations.

MeSH terms

  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Faculty, Medical
  • Female
  • Hawaii
  • Humans
  • Medicine*
  • Minority Groups
  • Schools, Medical
  • United States