Improving racial and ethnic diversity in the physician assistant (PA) profession is important to providing better care for underserved communities. The recruitment and retention of minority PA faculty is one aspect of helping to attract and retain a more diverse student body. Previous research has indicated that minority status is associated with the increased attrition of PA faculty but has not provided insight into the specific factors involved in the retention or attrition of minority PA faculty. The purpose of this qualitative research study was to describe the experience of minority PA faculty through a critical race theory lens. We used a phenomenological approach using structured interviews of minority PA faculty. Better understanding of the experience of minority PA faculty might lead to improved efforts at recruiting and supporting a more diverse faculty workforce. We conducted 13 interviews of PA faculty representing a variety of underrepresented minorities, geographic regions, types of schools, and stages of their careers. Major themes that emerged across the participants' experiences included opportunities for success in the form of both internal and external support systems and mentorship. As a corollary, barriers to the retention of minority PA faculty including a lack of institutional support, gaps in mentorship, and lack of a solid support network were cited.
Susan F. LeLacheur, DrPH, PA-C, is an associate professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC.
Vanessa Bester, MPAS, PA-C, is an assistant professor and associate director at the Augsburg University Physician Assistant Program, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Lisa Huggins Oxendine, DrPH, MAEd, PA-C, is an associate professor of clinical medicine for the Methodist University Physician Assistant Program, Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Carolyn Bradley Guidry, MPAS, PA-C, is an associate professor and director of diversity and inclusion in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas.
Darin Ryujin, MPAS, PA-C, is an associate professor and director of inclusion and diversity for the University of Utah Physician Assistant Program, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Kenya Samuels, MPAS, PA-C, is an assistant professor for the University of Texas, School of Health Professions, Physician Assistant Studies Program, Fort Worth, Texas.
Ana Maldonado, DHSc, MPH, PA-C, is a professor for the Joint MSPAS/MPH Program at Touro University of California, Vallejo, California.
Denise Bowen, MA, PA-C, is an associate professor emerita for the Western Michigan University Physician Assistant Program, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Kristine Himmerick, PhD, PA-C, is an emergency medicine physician assistant for Vituity, Sacramento, California.
Correspondence should be addressed to: Susan F. LeLacheur, DrPH, PA-C, Department of Physician Assistant Studies, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 3000, Washington, DC 20037. Telephone: (202) 994-6831; Email: email@example.com
The authors declare no conflict of interest.