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Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e318299265b
Letters to the Editor

Minority Faculty Face Challenges Similar to Those of Minority College Students

Campbell, Kendall M. MD; Rodríguez, José E. MD

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Associate professor of family medicine and rural health, Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallahassee, Florida; Kendall.Campbell@med.fsu.edu.

Associate professor of family medicine and rural health, Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallahassee, Florida.

To the Editor: A recent article at OnlineColleges.net1 describes several reasons for declining college graduation rates among minority students. These include a poor high school education, financial struggles, stereotype threats, lack of advisement and support, lack of on-campus engagement, not coming from a college-educated family, lack of academic mentors, colleges poorly structured for minority success, low institutional expectations for success, and being part of other at-risk groups.

Minority students are not alone in confronting such problems. Minority faculty also face difficulties remaining in academic medicine for most of the same reasons that minority students have trouble remaining in college. Reasons for minority faculty attrition include isolation,2 stereotyping (or racism), and lack of mentorship.3 Minority medical school faculty also face financial struggles,4 lack of advisement and support, low institutional expectations,5 and institutions inadequately structured for minority faculty advancement. We estimate that there is an 80% overlap of reasons for minority students’ departure from undergraduate education and reasons for minority faculty members’ difficulties remaining in academic medicine.

These similarities confirm inadequate management of inequities in undergraduate and academic medical institutions. This shortfall requires a call to action for these institutions to create additional initiatives and programs to increase the recruitment and retention of minorities, both students and faculty. Such increased support is needed to ensure a physician workforce that mirrors the general population.

Kendall M. Campbell, MD

Associate professor of family medicine and

rural health, Florida State University College of

Medicine, Tallahassee, Florida; Kendall.Campbell@med.fsu.edu.

José E. Rodríguez, MD

Associate professor of family medicine and rural

health, Florida State University College of Medicine,

Tallahassee, Florida.

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References

1. Rooney J, Schumann A, Ashley M, Givens P. Achievement gap: 10 reasons minority students aren’t finishing college. http://www.onlinecolleges.net/2012/12/26/achievement-gap-10-reasons-minority-students-arent-finishing-college/. Published December 26, 2012. Accessed March 30, 2013

2. Cropsey KL, Masho SW, Shiang R, Sikka V, Kornstein SG, Hampton CLCommittee on the Status of Women and Minorities, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Medical College of Virginia Campus. . Why do faculty leave? Reasons for attrition of women and minority faculty from a medical school: Four-year results. JWomens Health (Larchmt). 2008;17:1111–1118

3. Daley SP, Broyles SL, Rivera LM, Brennan JJ, Lu ER, Reznik V. A conceptual model for faculty development in academic medicine: The underrepresented minority faculty experience. J Natl Med Assoc. 2011;103:816–821

4. Carr PL, Palepu A, Szalacha L, Caswell C, Inui T. “Flying below the radar”: Aqualitativestudy of minority experience and management of discrimination in academic medicine. Med Educ. 2007;41:601–609

5. Price EG, Gozu A, Kern DE, et al. The role of cultural diversity climate in recruitment, promotion, and retention of faculty in academic medicine. J Gen Intern Med. 2005;20:565–571

© 2013 by the Association of American Medical Colleges

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