Lack of Diversity in Healthcare Professions, Explained Pt. III
by Allison Danish, MPH
30% of white students enrolled in kindergarten will go on to achieve an undergraduate degree. That's compared to only 17% of Black and 11% of Hispanic/Latinx kindergarten students.
Why does this matter?
Greater diversity in higher education could lead to better health outcomes for everybody.
"Over 75% of medical students found that diversity helped them to rethink their viewpoints when racial and ethnic conflicts occurred, and the same percentage felt that diversity provided them with a greater understanding of medical conditions and treatments."
But we're on a backward slide.
Affirmative action bans in 6 states have lead to a 17% decline in underrepresented BIPOC students entering medical school.
And achievement gaps remain.
By the 8th grade, the wealthiest (top 10% household income) students are 3 to 4 years ahead of the poorest (bottom 10% of household income) students.
So... what can we do? Well, change starts early.
Vote for higher quality education
- See where your state stands on education here: Education Commission of the United States: State Education Policy Tracking
- Find current legislative info for your state here: Congress.gov: State Legislature Websites
- Find contact information for your state's educational departments here: US Department of Education: State Contacts
Support organizations like these
HHS AMCH, Reflecting America's Population: Diversifying a Competent Health Care Workforce for the 21st Century (2011)
Whitla, D. K. et al. Educational benefits of diversity in medical school: a survey of students (2003)
Garces, L. M. et al. Racial Diversity in the Medical Profession: The Impact of Affirmative Action Bans on Underrepresented Student of Color Matriculation in Medical Schools (2015)
Hanushek, E. A. et al. The Unwavering SES Achievement Gap: Trends in U.S. Student Performance (2019)