Changes in the Representation of Women and Minorities in Biomedical Careers

Academic Medicine, Vol. 87, No. 11, November 2012

5 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2013

See all articles by Samuel Myers

Samuel Myers

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs

Kaye H. Husbands Fealing

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business

Date Written: September 2012

Abstract

Purpose: To examine how efforts and policies to increase diversity affect the relative representation of women and of minority groups within medicine and related science fields.

Method: The authors of this report used data from the Current Population Survey March Supplement (a product of the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics that tracks race, ethnicity, and employment) to compute the representation ratios of persons employed in biology, chemistry, and medicine from 1968 to 2009 (inclusive). They derived the representation ratios by computing the ratio of the conditional probability that a member of a given group is employed in a specific skilled science field to the overall probability of employment in that field. Their analysis tested for differences in representation ratios among racial, gender, and ethnic groups and across time among those employed as biologists, chemists, and medical doctors.

Results: Representation ratios rose for white females, whose percentage increase in medicine was larger than for any other racial/ethnic group. The representation ratios fell for Hispanics in biology, chemistry, and medicine. The representation ratio rose for African Americans, whose highest percentage increase occurred in biology. Asian Americans, who had the highest representation ratios in all three disciplines, saw a decline in their relative representation in medicine.

Conclusions: The authors have demonstrated that all groups do not benefit equally from diversity initiatives and that competition across related fields can confound efforts to increase diversity in medicine.

Keywords: diversity, women, minority, medicine, science, race, sex, biomedical, careers, representation, women

Suggested Citation

Myers, Samuel and Husbands Fealing, Kaye H., Changes in the Representation of Women and Minorities in Biomedical Careers (September 2012). Academic Medicine, Vol. 87, No. 11, November 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2364526

Samuel Myers (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs ( email )

301 19th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Kaye H. Husbands Fealing

Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business ( email )

800 West Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States

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