Archives     Advertise     Editorial Calendar     Subscribe     Contact Us    


Why the AMA is committed to a diverse physician workforce


 

The strength of our medical workforce--and our nation--is rooted in diversity. One requirement to advance health equity is to promote greater diversity among medical school applicants and enrollees. We know from research and experience that all patients, but particularly those from marginalized communities, benefit from a diverse physician workforce and are even likely to see improved outcomes. Diversity also enhances students' learning environments and fosters greater innovation.

Achieving diversity within the physician community, especially racial equity, has been historically challenging and has not yet reached levels that are representative of our nation's racial and ethnic diversity. Census data shows that less than 10 percent of physicians are African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Alaska Natives combined.

That's why we're concerned any time actions occur that may undermine these efforts, such as the agreement reached between the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights to no longer consider race in making admissions decisions.

While this agreement does not set a legal precedent, it does require the Trump administration to clarify policy changes. More importantly, while there is still much more to be done, we cherish the progress our country has made to ensure the civil and human rights of people--and we do not want to see further voluntary acts or agreements removing race considerations from the admissions process. Removing race further raises questions about whether medicine can and will recruit the best students from all backgrounds.

The AMA has been a part of this debate before. As the AMA stated in an amicus brief in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a 2016 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that further upheld this practice: "Removing the ability of medical schools to consider applicants' race and ethnicity as one of many personal attributes would undermine their ability to assess the entirety of each individual's background, thus frustrating the goal of best serving the public's health."

High-quality care, no matter who you are

Just last year, the AMA Board of Trustees and the entire House of Delegates strengthened our existing policy to improve health equity nationwide. One of those changes formalized opposition to legislation that undermines any effort to properly employ affirmative action in promoting student body diversity. And we support the use of holistic assessments of medical school applicants to achieve this same goal.

The AMA is committed to providing equal access to high-quality care to all patients, no matter who they are, where they live or what they look like. Communities of color--including African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans--live with chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma at higher rates than whites. They live sicker and die younger than white Americans due to multiple factors including discrimination and systemic racism experienced in and out of the health care system, reduced access to high-quality care, and lack of insurance coverage, to name a few.

Fortunately, multiple studies have demonstrated that patients who share racial or gender characteristics with the physicians treating them demonstrate higher rates of both treatment compliance and personal satisfaction.

Achieving greater diversity in the future physician workforce demands greater attention to this issue today. Recognizing the larger historical context, power structures and economic interests that affect diversity, one strategy AMA has committed to is supporting existing pipeline programs, similar to the one at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. Such programs encourage students that are underrepresented in medicine to pursue careers in health care.

The AMA will never relinquish its leadership role in promoting diversity in the physician workforce, knowing more needs to be done. Affirmative action has a rightful place in medical school admission policies when it meets the requirements for narrow tailoring and strict scrutiny laid down by the courts. Advancing equity is a critical goal we need to meet on the journey toward providing optimal care for all Americans.

 
Share:

Related Articles:


Recent Articles

AMA Announces First Chief Health Equity Officer

The American Medical Association (AMA) today announced the hiring of Aletha Maybank, M.D., M.P.H., as its first ever chief health equity officer.

Read More

AMA Calls Pain Task Force Recommendations A Road Map for Future Policy

May 9, 2019 ... The AMA strongly backs the comprehensive, common-sense proposals the Interagency Pain Task Force discussed today, sending a clear signal to the physician community that policy makers understand the treatment required for patients in pain.

Read More

Technology Better Than Tape Measure for Identifying Lymphedema Risk

Bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS) is better than a tape measure for assessing a woman's risk for developing lymphedema, painful swelling in the arm after breast cancer surgery, according to interim results of a study led by Sheila Ridner, PhD, RN, Martha Ingram Professor and director of the PhD in Nursing Science Program at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

Read More

Immunotherapy Shows Promise for TNBC Patients

New immunotherapy regimen approved for the treatment of historically untreatable triple negative breast cancer.

Read More

Reimagining Residency

The AMA has spent the last several years accelerating change in medical education. Now the time has come to reimagine residency as the national organization works to transform physician training & practice.

Read More

Accessing the Spectrum of Quality Care

With the ACOG meeting ... and her year of presidency ... just wrapped, Dr. Lisa M. Hollier, MD, MPH, FACOG shares reflections on the past year and the state of women's health.

Read More

ACS ResearcHERS Program Bringing Awareness to Women in Science

Women now comprise 50 percent of ACS funded research.

Read More

Physician Spotlight: Serving the City

Longtime TennCare leader & public health expert has now been tapped to lead health efforts for Davidson County residents.

Read More

Diverse by Design

THA's Agenda 21 Opens Doors, Launches Careers

Read More

Belmont, Lipscomb Partner on Honduran Pharmacy

The Belmont University and Lipscomb University Colleges of Pharmacy have recently announced a collaborative partnership with Jovenes en Camino to build and support a locally-run pharmacy in El Zamorano, Honduras.

Read More

Email Print
 
 

 

 


Tags:
None
Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: