Diversity in Medicine

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Loving vs Virginia, the supreme court case that overruled anti-miscegenation laws in the USA. For me, that's especially significant, seeing as my marriage is multiracial.

That got me thinking, though, about medicine and the diversity of practicing physicians in this country. I think it's fair to say diversity in all aspects of society is a good thing. No one racial demographic is any more skilled than another and each has its own distinct ways of engaging different issues that lead to new understandings or applications in any field.

To that goal, I decided to find the most recent demographic data of practicing physicians and medical school graduates and compare it to the national census.

  • White
    • Census: 77.1%
    • Physicians: 68.5%
    • Graduates: 58.8%
  • Black
    • Census: 13.3%
    • Physicians: 4.9%
    • Graduates: 5.7%
  • Asian
    • Census: 5.6%
    • Physicians: 19.0%
    • Graduates:19.8%
  • Hispanic
    • Census: 17.6%
    • Physicians: 5.8%
    • Graduates: 4.6%
  • Native American/Alaskan Native
    • Census: 1.2%
    • Physicians (rolled into "Other")
    • Graduates: 0.1%
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
    • Census: 0.2%
    • Physicians (rolled into "Other")
    • Graduates: 0.03%
  • Multi-racial (2+)
    • Census: 2.6%
    • Physicians (Rolled into "Other")
    • Graduates: 7.1%
  • Other
    • Census: n/a (~ 4.0% compared to Physicians)
    • Physicians: 1.8%
    • Graduates: 1.6% (~ 8.8% compared to Physicians)
Now, take with this info what you will*, but I will say this: I'm glad to note the relative increase in minority representation among medical school graduates and, hopefully, we'll see a greater percentage of minorities entering the medical field as physicians in the near future.

*There are a number of things I'm curious about: Why Asians and Multi-racials are disproportionately higher in representation and what the factors are that hinder Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans/Alaskans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders from having a representation closer to the national demographic.



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