Family Medicine Faculty More Diverse Than Others

Family medicine faculty is more diverse than other faculties, but women and minorities still hold a smaller proportion of full professor positions, according to a study published in the January-February issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Researchers from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care examined the number of women and racial and ethnic minorities in family medicine departments. They compared the figure with averages among other medical faculties.

The researchers observed an almost four-fold increase in the number of full-time family medicine faculty from 1980 to 2015, from 1,396 to 5,507 positions. During that period, the proportion of female and minority faculty in family medicine departments more than doubled. However, women and minorities still hold a higher percentage of lower-ranking faculty positions. Women and minorities occupy 51 and 12.6 percent of family medicine assistant professorships, respectively, which is a higher average than seen among other medical faculty departments. However, only 30 and 7 percent of women and minorities, respectively, occupy full professor positions in family medicine.

“Better approaches are needed to improve faculty diversity and opportunities for promotion of diverse faculty in academic medicine overall and in family medicine faculty,” the authors write. “Medical schools and academic family medicine departments may need to review their current practices and policies with an eye toward enabling more faculty diversity through institutional transformation and moving diversity from the periphery to the core of institutional excellence.”

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