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The need for greater diversity in the PA profession

Coplan, Bettie, MPAS, PA-C; Fleming, Shani, MS, MPH, PA-C

Journal of the American Academy of PAs: May 2019 - Volume 32 - Issue 5 - p 54–58
doi: 10.1097/01.JAA.0000554743.08935.d0
Special Article

ABSTRACT Leading organizations committed to improving health and healthcare in the United States agree that a more diverse healthcare workforce is needed to combat widespread disparities affecting underrepresented minority and underserved populations. Until the 1990s, a higher proportion of underrepresented minorities entered PA programs than other healthcare professions programs, such as medical school. However, in recent years, the PA profession has struggled to increase diversity among its ranks. This article reviews the rationale for greater diversity in the PA workforce, discusses the obstacles that underrepresented minority students and PA educators face, and makes recommendations to address diversity. The PA profession's rapid growth presents an opportunity to expedite change through community outreach, sustained commitment to diversity, research, and policy change.

Bettie Coplan is an associate clinical professor at Northern Arizona University and adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University, both in Phoenix. Shani Fleming is a doctoral student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The authors have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

Copyright © 2019 American Academy of Physician Assistants
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