Race/Ethnicity and Workplace Discrimination: Results of a National Survey of Physicians
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Promoting racial/ethnic diversity within the physician workforce is a national priority. However, the extent of racial/ethnic discrimination reported by physicians from diverse backgrounds in today’s health-care workplace is unknown.
To determine the prevalence of physician experiences of perceived racial/ethnic discrimination at work and to explore physician views about race and discussions regarding race/ethnicity in the workplace.
Cross-sectional, national survey conducted in 2006–2007.
Practicing physicians (total n = 529) from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds in the United States.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS
We examined physicians’ experience of racial/ethnic discrimination over their career course, their experience of discrimination in their current work setting, and their views about race/ethnicity and discrimination at work. The proportion of physicians who reported that they had experienced racial/ethnic discrimination “sometimes, often, or very often” during their medical career was substantial among non-majority physicians (71% of black physicians, 45% of Asian physicians, 63% of “other” race physicians, and 27% of Hispanic/Latino(a) physicians, compared with 7% of white physicians, all p < 0.05). Similarly, the proportion of non-majority physicians who reported that they experienced discrimination in their current work setting was substantial (59% of black, 39% of Asian, 35% of “other” race, 24% of Hispanic/Latino(a) physicians, and 21% of white physicians). Physician views about the role of race/ethnicity at work varied significantly by respondent race/ethnicity.
Many non-majority physicians report experiencing racial/ethnic discrimination in the workplace. Opportunities exist for health-care organizations and diverse physicians to work together to improve the climate of perceived discrimination where they work.
- Peterson NB, Friedman RH, Ash AS, et al. Faculty self-reported experience with racial and ethnic discrimination in academic medicine. J Gen Intern Med. 2004;19:259–65. CrossRef
- Corbie-Smith G, Frank E, Nickens HW, et al. Prevalences and correlates of ethnic harassment in the U.S. Women Physicians’ Health Study. Acad Med. 1999;74:695–701. CrossRef
- Palepu A, Carr PL, Friedman RH, et al. Specialty choices, compensation, and career satisfaction of underrepresented minority faculty in academic medicine. Acad Med. 2000;75:157–60. CrossRef
- Fang D, Moy E, Colburn L, et al. Racial and ethnic disparities in faculty promotion in academic medicine. JAMA. 2000;284:1085–92. CrossRef
- Palepu A, Carr PL, Friedman RH, et al. Minority faculty and academic rank in medicine. JAMA. 1998;280:767–71. CrossRef
- Institute of Medicine. In the Nation’s Compelling Interest: Ensuring Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce. In: Smedley BD, Bulter AS, Bristow LR, eds. Washington DC: National Academies Press; 2004.
- Nickens HW, Ready TP, Petersdorf RG. Project 3000 by 2000. Racial and ethnic diversity in US medical schools. N Engl J Med. 1994;331:472–6. CrossRef
- The Sullivan Commission on Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce. Missing Persons: Minorities in the Health Professions. 2004. Available at: http://www.kaisernetwork.org/health_cast/hcast_index.cfm?display=detail&hc=1141. Last accessed July 23, 2009
- Chan L, Ahmad Y. Diversity in Medicine-Diversity and equity issues in medical education. Univ Tor Med J. 2005;82:172–4.
- Cohen JJ. Time to shatter the glass ceiling for minority faculty. JAMA. 1998;280:821–2. CrossRef
- Nickens HW. The rationale for minority-targeted programs in medicine in the 1990s. JAMA. 1992;267:2390–5. CrossRef
- Powe NR, Cooper LA. Diversifying the racial and ethnic composition of the physician workforce. Ann Intern Med. 2004;141:223–4.
- Smith LH, Bridges K. Minority medical faculty fellows credit program with fostering their academic careers. 1996. Available at: http://www.rwjf.org/reports/grr/027395s.htm. Last accessed July 23, 2009
- Tekian A. A thematic review of the literature of underrepresented minorities and medical training, 1981–1995: securing the foundations of the bridge to diversity. Acad Med. 1997; 72: S140–6. CrossRef
- Thomson WA, Denk JP. Promoting diversity in the medical school pipeline: a national overview. Acad Med. 1999;74:312–4. CrossRef
- Price EG, Gozu A, Kern DE, et al. The role of cultural diversity climate in recruitment, promotion, and retention of faculty in academic medicine. J Gen Intern Med. 2005;20:565–71. CrossRef
- Coombs AA, King RK. Workplace discrimination: experiences of practicing physicians. J Natl Med Assoc. 2005;97:467–77.
- Nunez-Smith M, Curry LA, Bigby J, et al. Impact of race on the professional lives of physicians of African descent. Ann Intern Med. 2007;146:45–51.
- American Medical Association. AMA Physician Masterfile. Available at: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/2673.html. Last accessed July 23, 2009
- National Medical Association. Available at: http://www.nmanet.org/. Last accessed July 23, 2009
- Cook DA, Beckman TJ. Current concepts in validity and reliability for psychometric instruments: theory and application. Am J Med. 2006;119:166 e167–116. CrossRef
- Krause N. A comprehensive strategy for developing closed-ended survey items for use in studies of older adults. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2002;57:S263–74.
- Bobo LD, Suh SA. Surveying racial discrimination: analyses from a multiethnic labor market. In: Bobo LD, Oliver ML, Johnson JHJ, et al, eds. Prismatic Metropolis: Inequality in Los Angeles. New York: Russell Sage Foundation; 2000.
- Essed P. Understanding Everyday Racism: an interdisciplinary theory. Thousand Oaks: Sage; 1991.
- Burkard A, Boticki M, Madson M. Workplace Discrimination, Prejudice and Diversity Measures: a review of instrumentation. J Career Assess. 2002;10:343–61. CrossRef
- Hosmer DJ, Lemeshow S. Applied Logistic Regression. New York: John Wiley and Sons Inc.; 1989.
- Austin PC, Mamdani MM, Juurlink DN, et al. Testing multiple statistical hypotheses resulted in spurious associations: a study of astrological signs and health. J Clin Epidemiol. 2006;59:964–9. CrossRef
- American Medical Association. Physician Characteristics and Distribution in the US, 2008 Edition. Available at: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/about-ama/our-people/member-groups-sections/minority-affairs-consortium/physician-statistics/total-physicians-raceethnicity-2006.shtml. Last accessed July 23, 2009
- Alderfer C. An inter-group perspective on group dynamics. In: Lorsch J, ed. Handbook of Organizational Behavior. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall; 1987.
- Cox TJ. Cultural Diversity in Organizations: Theory, Research, and Practice. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler; 1994.
- Akinola M, Thomas D. Defining the attributes and processes that enhance the effectiveness of workforce diversity initiatives in knowledge intensive firms. 2008 Working Paper. Available at: http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/07-019.pdf. Last accessed July 23, 2009
- Coker N. Racism in Medicine: An Agenda for Change. London: King’s Fund; 2001.
- Kaiser Family Foundation. National Survey of Physicians Part I: Doctors on Disparities in Medical Care. 2001. Available at: http://www.kff.org/minorityhealth/20020321a-index.cfm. Last accessed July 23, 2009
- Nunez-Smith M, Curry LA, Berg D, et al. Healthcare workplace conversations on race and the perspectives of physicians of African descent. J Gen Intern Med. 2008;23:1471–6. CrossRef
- National Research Council, ed. Measuring Racial Discrimination. Washington DC: The National Academies Press; 2004.
- Asch DA, Jedrziewski MK, Christakis NA. Response rates to mail surveys published in medical journals. J Clin Epidemiol. 1997;50:1129–36. CrossRef
- Campbell EG, Gruen RL, Mountford J, et al. A national survey of physician-industry relationships. N Engl J Med. 2007;356:1742–50. CrossRef
- Curlin FA, Lawrence RE, Chin MH, et al. Religion, conscience, and controversial clinical practices. N Engl J Med. 2007;356:593–600. CrossRef
- Gruen RL, Campbell EG, Blumenthal D. Public roles of U.S. physicians: community participation, political involvement, and collective advocacy. Jama. 2006;296:2467–75. CrossRef
- McCormick D, Woolhandler S, Bose-Kolanu A, et al. US physicians’ views on financing options to expand health insurance coverage: a national survey. J Gen Intern Med. 2009;24:526–31. CrossRef
- Sharma R, Kostis WJ, Wilson AC, et al. Questionable hospital chart documentation practices by physicians. J Gen Intern Med. 2008;23:1865–70. CrossRef
- Race/Ethnicity and Workplace Discrimination: Results of a National Survey of Physicians
Journal of General Internal Medicine
Volume 24, Issue 11 , pp 1198-1204
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Additional Links
- race and ethnicity
- health-care workers
- Industry Sectors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA
- 2. Department of Internal Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA
- 3. Department of Population, Family and International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA
- 4. American Medical Association Institute of Ethics, Chicago, IL, USA
- 5. Department of Internal Medicine, University of Chicago School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA
- 6. Division of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, USA
- 7. National Medical Association, Washington, DC, USA
- 8. Department of Internal Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine and Durham VA Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA
- 9. Division of Health Policy and Administration, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, USA