Minorities Underrepresented in Health Care Professions, IOM Report Finds
Some U.S. minority populations are underrepresented in health care professions, a situation that could prove problematic because minority health providers "are significantly more likely than their white peers to serve minority and medically underserved communities," according to an Institute of Medicine report released Thursday (CongressDaily, 2/5). According to the report, "In the Nation's Compelling Interest: Ensuring Diversity in the Health Care Workforce," Latinos represent 12% of U.S. residents but 3.5% of doctors, 3.4% of psychologists and 2% of nurses. One-eighth of U.S. residents are African-American but one-twentieth of U.S. physicians and dentists are African-American, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports. American Indians also are underrepresented in health care professions, the report says. About 19.8% of medical school graduates are Asian or Pacific Islander, a larger proportion than their percentage of the U.S. population, according to the report. The report recommends that health education institutions and accreditation groups include more minorities on their review boards and consider race, ethnicity and language skills in their admissions processes. Further, federal, state and local governments should increase funding for programs that increase diversity in health professions and educational institutions, according to the report (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 2/5). The report is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.