Minority pediatricians are more likely to care for minority children
Research Activities, September 2010, No. 361
Minorities continue to be underrepresented in the medical profession. However, a diverse physician workforce is vital to providing culturally appropriate care to minority patients. Minority pediatricians continue to be more likely than their nonminority peers to care for minority children and publicly insured or uninsured children, according to a new study.
Researchers collected data on pediatricians at three different times: 1993, 2000, and 2007. Information was obtained from the American Pediatric Association's Periodic Surveys of Fellows. In these surveys, pediatricians can identify the racial/ethnic group to which they belong, practice location, patient insurance coverage, and estimates of the number of patients treated from each racial/ethnic category. After grouping the results from the three surveys together, the researchers found that underrepresented minority (URM) pediatricians treated an average of 20 percent more minority children than their non-URM colleagues. The percentage of minority patients was highest for Hispanic pediatricians (57.9 percent), closely followed by black pediatricians (57.6 percent). This compared with just 33.4 percent for white pediatricians and 40.6 percent for Asian pediatricians. The average percentages of minority children in URM pediatrician practices did not vary much over the three time periods (57, 56.6, and 56.7 percent). URM pediatricians also took care of higher percentages of publicly insured or insured children. In 1993 URM practices treated 46 percent versus 38.8 percent for non-URM practices. By 2007, the gap had widened to 59.7 percent in URM practices versus 40.7 percent in non-URM practices.
These findings underscore the need for more recruitment programs aimed at minority high school and college students to encourage them to consider careers as pediatricians. The study was supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS15679).
See "Assessing trends in practice demographics of underrepresented minority pediatricians, 1993-2007," by William T. Basco, Jr., M.D., William L. Cull, Ph.D., Karen G. O'Connor, B.S., and Scott A. Shipman, M.D., M.P.H., in the March 2010 Pediatrics 125(3), pp. 460-467.