Minority Health Archive

The Urgency of Now: Recruiting and Retaining Racially and Ethnically Diverse Professionals in the Health Professions

The Sullivan Commission Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Diversity (2007) The Urgency of Now: Recruiting and Retaining Racially and Ethnically Diverse Professionals in the Health Professions. UNSPECIFIED.

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    In 2003, the Sullivan Commission on Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce, headed by former Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., began formulating recommendations to bring about systemic change that would address the scarcity of minorities in health professions in the United States. Their 2004 report entitled, “Missing Persons: Minorities in the Health Professions,” documented the severe shortage of under-represented minorities, African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, in the health professions. Although the Sullivan Commission focused solely on physicians, nurses and dentists, the lack of under-represented minorities is also a serious concern in pharmacy, public health and the allied health sciences. The issue will reach crisis proportion as the demographic composition of the United States shifts away from a white majority to a far more multi-ethnic society. By 2020, non-Hispanic whites will decrease to 61% of the population while African Americans will increase to 13% and other minorities, including Hispanics, will increase from 19 to 26% (HRSA). By 2050, Blacks are projected to be 14.6%, Hispanics 24.4%, and Native American/Alaska Natives, 1.8% of the US population (Mitchell and Lassiter, 2006). In contrast, in 2004, whites were 64% of medical graduates, 63% of dental graduates and 75% of public health graduates (Mitchell and Lassiter, 2006). This glaring problem will only be exacerbated in the future. The Sullivan Commission framed their recommendations around three principles: 1) to increase diversity in the health professions, the culture of health professions schools must change; 2) new and nontraditional paths to the health professions should be explored; and 3) commitments must be at the highest levels of our government and in the private sector (p. 3). The Commission’s recommendations were congruent with central recommendations of the 2004 Institute of 2 Medicine report, In the Nation’s Compelling Interest: Ensuring Diversity in the Health Care Workforce (Smedley, 2004).

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    Item Type: Other
    Uncontrolled Keywords: minorities in health professions; African Americans; Hispanics; Native Americans; under-represented minorities; multi-ethnic society; diversity in the health professions
    Subjects: Health
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      Depositing User: Users 141 not found.
      Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2008
      Last Modified: 12 Apr 2011 10:50
      Link to this item (URI): http://health-equity.lib.umd.edu/id/eprint/987

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