WEDNESDAY, June 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Hispanic and Black physicians are underrepresented in the United States, according to a research letter published online June 1 in JAMA Network Open.
Hector Mora, M.D., from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study to compare the demographics of the U.S. population to the U.S. physician workforce for 2010 and 2015.
The researchers found there were 20,349 allopathic medical school matriculants and 961,098 practicing physicians in 2015. Of these, 1,231 and 1,228 medical students and 60,549 and 46,133 physicians were Hispanic and Black, respectively. The expected numbers would be 174,307 Hispanic and 127,490 Black physicians based on their representation in the population, indicating a deficit of 113,758 and 81,358 Hispanic and Black physicians, respectively. Per 100,000 Hispanic and Black people in the United States, there were 196 and 191 fewer Hispanic and Black physicians, respectively, compared with the U.S. population. To correct the deficit of Hispanic and Black physicians from 2015 would take 92 and 66 years of sustained doubling of Hispanic and Black medical students, respectively.
"The creation and expansion of medical schools that prioritize the education of Black, Hispanic, and other underrepresented students would not only decrease the overall physician shortage, but also shorten the time required to attain a representative physician workforce and help mitigate the societal harm inflicted by decades of structural racism," the authors write.