The Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions (FASHP) has declared the low number of historically underrepresented men of color (HUMOC) graduating and entering the health care professions a national crisis. Representing CEOs of national academic health professions associations, FASHP has released a consensus statement addressing this critical issue, and is calling on local and national educational, health care, governmental and community leaders to raise awareness regarding this critical issue and to identify barriers and provide resources to dramatically increase the number of men of color graduating from the health professions.
“We must urgently join forces with P-16 education, government, health care, corporations and other leaders to remove pathway barriers and adopt robust strategies that facilitate a significant increase in the number of historically underrepresented men of color entering and graduating from dental, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, social work and other health professions schools,” said Dr. Karen P. West, secretary of FASHP and president and CEO of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA).
Similar disparities exist across the academic health professions.
- Of 6,665 2021 U.S. dental school graduates, 3,223 (48.4%) were men (American Dental Association). Of those, 431 (6.46%) were HUMOC (263 Hispanic/Latino men, 147 Black/African American men, 18 American Indian/Alaska Native men and 3 Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander men).
- Of 21,051 2021-2022 U.S. medical school graduates, 10,268 (48.8%) were men (Association of American Medical Colleges[AAMC]). Of those, 1,251 were HUMOC (664 Hispanic/Latino men, 565 Black/African American men, 13 American Indian/Alaska Native men, and 9 Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander men).
- The 2021 graduating class of veterinary medical students included only 0.6% Black/African American men, 1.4% Hispanic/Latino men, and 0.2% American Indian/Alaska Native men.
- Of the 824 2021-2022 U.S. public health doctoral graduates, 230 were men (Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health[ASPPH]). Of the total graduates, only 2.5% were Black/African American men, 2.1% Hispanic/Latino men, and 0.1% American Indian/Alaska Native men.
“The development of a diverse healthcare workforce is a critical goal for all FASHP member associations,” said FASHP President Dawn Mancuso, MAM, CAE, FASAE, executive vice president and CEO of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry. “Our patients deserve the best care we can provide, and that requires a concerted, broader effort to motivate attention and activate solutions.”
The low numbers of HUMOC health care providers affect not only communities of color but the entire nation’s well-being. This lack of diversity has significant consequences for public health, education, economic stability and the availability and quality of health care treatment for all U.S. communities. There is also a need to significantly increase the number of HUMOC graduating with Ph.D.s and doctorate degrees in public health. “These statistics are unacceptable and solidify our resolve to implement impactful solutions around engaging our members toward a more inclusive and equitable public health workforce,” said Dr. Laura Magaña, ASPPH President and CEO.
Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe, CEO of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges, noted that “a lack of awareness, marginalization, educational disparities, systemic racism and unconscious bias has led to these continuing inequalities and a lack of HUMOC matriculating and graduating in the academic health professions, which has now reached crisis proportions.”
FASHP members are addressing disparities through a variety of initiatives. For example:
- The AAMC launched the Action Collaborative for Black Men in Medicine in 2020, which includes partnerships that focus on systemic solutions to increase the representation and success of Black men interested in and entering medicine.
- With a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), ADEA hosted a two-day Summit with 83 representatives from across the health professions to develop solutions to the paucity of HUMOC in the health professions. Dr. David Satcher, 16th Surgeon General of the United States and former President of Morehouse College and Meharry Medical College, was a featured guest and galvanized the group to act.
- The Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP), jointly administered by ADEA and AAMC and supported by the RWJF, is a six-week summer enrichment program for marginalized and socioeconomically and educationally disadvantaged college students interested in the health professions.
Dr. Dennis Mitchell, dentist and interim provost and executive vice president for University Life at Columbia University who serves on the National Association of Chief Diversity Officers in Higher Education Board of Directors, was instrumental in establishing SHPEP. “Pathway programs such as SHPEP make a difference, but we need more of these programs and more of these interventions throughout the P-16 student lifecycle for boys and men of color,” said Dr. Mitchell.
FASHP CEOs agree that more academic enrichment interventions are needed to increase the representation of all historically underrepresented and marginalized groups in the health professions. However, FASHP believes there is an urgent need to call attention to the significant deficiency of HUMOC entering and graduating from health professions schools in comparison to other marginalized student populations.
In pursuit of greater collective action, FASHP is establishing a coalition with associations across the academic health professions, health care institutions, and health professional organizations to tackle the longstanding problem of the low numbers of HUMOC at health professions schools. FASHP plans to expand its work to galvanize P-16, governmental, health care, corporate, foundation, health care research, community, and other leaders to develop short- and long-term strategies with focused action plans.
FASHP Member Organizations
- American Association of Colleges of Nursing
- American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
- American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
- American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine
- American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges
- American Dental Education Association
- Association of American Medical Colleges
- Association of Chiropractic Colleges
- Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions
- Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
- Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health
- Association of University Programs in Health Administration
- Council on Social Work Education
- PA Education Association
- Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges
- American Council of Academic Physical Therapy
- American Occupational Therapy Association
- American Physical Therapy Association
- American Psychological Association