Giving Compass' Take:
- Research indicates that only 2 percent of all doctors identify as Latina, and this disparity is concerning, particularly for patients of color.
- How will recent affirmative action decisions impact diversity in medical schools?
- Read more on how Latinas are underrepresented in medicine.
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Latinx people have for years made up the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population and currently constitute close to 1 in 5 people in the country. But they remain severely underrepresented in the physician workforce.
In the 2014 to 2018 period, only 6 percent of doctors in America identified as Latino, Latina or Latine, according to one recent analysis from the University of California, Los Angeles. Another analysis, conducted by the American Association of Medical Colleges using 2022 survey data, found similar disparities. Per that paper, 6.9 percent of doctors identified as Hispanic, compared with 63.9 percent of doctors who were White — though about 57.8 percent of Americans are White — and 20.6 percent who were Asian, though 7 percent of Americans are Asian. Only 5.7 percent of doctors were Black, though Black Americans make up about 12 percent of the population. That analysis did not look at race and gender in tandem.
The issue is particularly acute among women. The UCLA analysis found that only 2 percent of all physicians in the United States were Latina.
The disparity has remained true for decades, and it’s one that some worry could grow after a Supreme Court decision prohibiting the use of race in selective college admissions, including in medical schools. The American Medical Association, a physician trade group, said the June decision “will translate into a less diverse physician workforce.” A vast body of research links increased racial diversity among doctors with better health outcomes for patients.
Read the full article about Latina doctors by Shefali Luthra at The19th.