December 1, 2019

The Indigenous Faculty Forum: A Longitudinal Professional Development Program to Promote the Advancement of Indigenous Faculty in Academic Medicine

Erik Brodt MD; Amanda Bruegl MD, MS; Marissa Fuqua Miller BS; Cynthia Taylor PhD; Martina Kamaka MD; Dee-Ann Carpenter MD; Vanessa Wong MD; and Patricia A. Carney PhD, MS

Hawai’i Journal of Health & Social Welfare

American Indian, Alaska Native (AIAN) and Native Hawaiian and other
Pacific Islander (NHPI) faculty, are substantially under-represented (<1%) at US medical schools. The Oregon Health & Science University’s Northwest Native American Center of Excellence and The University of Hawai‘i Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence have created an Indigenous Faculty Forum (IFF), a one-day structured course with flanking social activities, specifically designed to meet the unique needs of AIAN and NHPI academic faculty. It provided: (1) Indigenous space, (2) skill building, (3) networking, and (4) ongoing mentorship, each of which were included to specifically mitigate isolation and tokenism that negatively affects promotion and advancement. Two Forums have been conducted, first in Portland, OR in 2017 and the second in Hilo, Hawai‘i in 2018. Nine of eighteen AIAN faculty in the three-state region (CA, OR, WA) attended IFF Session #1, representing 50% of known AIAN faculty in this region. Thirty-four Indigenous faculty from around the world attended IFF Session #2, with twenty-nine completing program evaluations. Respondents were predominantly female (81.6%), under age 44 (52.7%), and either instructors or assistant professors (52.6%). In terms of career choice, both sessions included primary care physicians as the most represented group (55.6% at Session #1 and 62.1% at Session #2). Increasing Indigenous faculty representation in US medical schools, while simultaneously fostering their career advancement and meaning in work, is vitally important. We have begun the work needed to address this problem and look forward to conducting more efforts, including longitudinal evaluation designs to study effectiveness.

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