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Keywords:

  • schools;
  • medical;
  • minority groups;
  • faculty;
  • medical;
  • prejudice;
  • job satisfaction

BACKGROUND:  Despite the need to recruit and retain minority faculty in academic medicine, little is known about the experiences of minority faculty, in particular their self-reported experience of racial and ethnic discrimination at their institutions.

OBJECTIVE:  To determine the frequency of self-reported experience of racial/ethnic discrimination among faculty of U.S. medical schools, as well as associations with outcomes, such as career satisfaction, academic rank, and number of peer-reviewed publications.

DESIGN:  A 177-item self-administered mailed survey of U.S. medical school faculty.

SETTING:  Twenty-four randomly selected medical schools in the contiguous United States.

PARTICIPANTS:   A random sample of 1,979 full-time faculty, stratified by medical school, specialty, graduation cohort, and gender.

MEASUREMENTS:  Frequency of self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic bias and discrimination.

RESULTS:  The response rate was 60%. Of 1,833 faculty eligible, 82% were non-Hispanic white, 10% underrepresented minority (URM), and 8% nonunderrepresented minority (NURM). URM and NURM faculty were substantially more likely than majority faculty to perceive racial/ethnic bias in their academic environment (odds ratio [OR], 5.4; P < .01 and OR, 2.6; P < .01, respectively). Nearly half (48%) of URM and 26% of NURM reported experiencing racial/ethnic discrimination by a superior or colleague. Faculty with such reported experiences had lower career satisfaction scores than other faculty (P < .01). However, they received comparable salaries, published comparable numbers of papers, and were similarly likely to have attained senior rank (full or associate professor).

CONCLUSIONS:  Many minority faculty report experiencing racial/ethnic bias in academic medicine and have lower career satisfaction than other faculty. Despite this, minority faculty who reported experiencing racial/ethnic discrimination achieved academic productivity similar to that of other faculty.