September 7, 2022

In The News: Diversity of Pediatric Academic Faculty Does Not Reflect Patients, Study Finds

Healio reports on a recently published faculty diversity study. Part of the research looked at the 20-year trend of pediatric faculty to gauge how many of those who identified as underrepresented in medicine trainees made their way into academic medicine. Despite well-intended efforts, researchers found the number unchanged.

The study utilized the Association of American Medical Colleges Faculty Roster of pediatric faculty from 2000 to 2020 to look at trends in sex, race and ethnicity. First glance analysis appeared to show an increase in those who identified as URiM over that time. A deeper analysis, however, revealed most of the gains were limited to women. Those gains offset other groups whose numbers stayed flat or dropped.

This applied to Black and American Indian/Alaskan Native men. Black men represent 12.1% of the U.S. population yet comprised only 4.4% of pediatric faculty in 2020. For American Indian/Alaskan Native men, those numbers were 1.1% and 0.2%, respectively. As the researchers note, this is happening at a time when the pediatric U.S. population is rapidly diversifying.

Those in the article point out the need for better recruitment, support and growth of URiM pediatric faculty. Among the suggestions provided, researchers note examining recruitment and hiring practices, increased exposure, mentorship programs, and the role of pediatric organizations to promote academic scholarship and how to navigate the academic landscape amongst those in URiM populations.

PIDS president, Buddy Creech, commented on the story and its relation to PIDS Strategic Plan, “PIDS leadership, in collaboration with the Inclusion, Diversity, Access, and Equity Taskforce and the Training Programs Committee, are working diligently to increase the diversity of our ID workforce. We want our pediatric ID physician workforce to mirror the communities we serve; to that end, we are funding several new initiatives that improve opportunities for summer research, encourage conference attendance for those traditionally underrepresented in medicine, and provide opportunities for our leadership to be as diverse as possible. These activities are key elements of our current PIDS Strategic Plan.”

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