December 1, 2018

Concerning trends in allopathic medical school faculty rank for Indigenous people: 2014–2016

Erik Brodt (Ojibwe), Amanda Bruegl (Oneida, Stockbridge-Munsee), Erin K. Thayer, M. Patrice Eiff, Kelly Gonzales (Cherokee), Carlos Crespo, Dove Spector (Nez Perce), Martina Kamaka (Native Hawaiian), Dee-Ann Carpenter (Native Hawaiian) and Patricia A. Carney

Medical Education Online

Trends in faculty rank according to racial and ethnic composition have not been reviewed in over a decade.

Objective: To study trends in faculty rank according to racial and ethnicity with a specific focus on Indigenous faculty, which has been understudied.

Methods: Data from the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Faculty Administrative Management Online User System was used to study trends in race/ethnicity faculty composition and rank between 2014 and 2016, which included information on 481,753 faculty members from 141 US allopathic medical schools.

Results: The majority of medical school faculty were White, 62.4% (n = 300,642). Asian composition represented 14.7% (n = 70,647). Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish Origin; Multiple Race-Hispanic; Multiple Race-Non-Hispanic; and Black/African American faculty represented 2.2%, 2.3%, 3.0%, and 3.0%, respectively. Indigenous faculty members, defined as American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN), Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (NHPI), represented the smallest percentage of faculty at 0.11% and 0.18%, respectively. White faculty predominated the full professor rank at 27.5% in 2016 with a slight decrease between 2014 and 2016. Indigenous faculty represented the lowest percent of full professor faculty at 5.2% in 2016 for AIAN faculty and a decline from 4.6% to 1.6% between 2014 and 2016 for NHPI faculty (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: While US medical school faculty are becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, representation of AIAN faculty is not improving and is decreasing significantly among NHPI faculty. Little progress has been made in eliminating health disparities among Indigenous people. Diversifying the medical workforce could better meet the needs of communities that historically and currently experience a disproportionate disease burden.

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