A physician workforce that reflects the patient population is associated with improved patient outcomes and promotes health equity. Notwithstanding, racial and ethnic disparities persist within US medical schools, making some individuals underrepresented in medicine (URM). We sought to increase the percentage of URM residents who matched into our pediatric residency programs from a baseline of 5% to 35% to achieve demographic parity with our patients. We developed a multifaceted approach using multiple iterative tests of change, with the primary strategy being increased visibility of URM trainees and faculty to residency applicants. Strategies included applicant interviews with URM faculty, interview dinners with URM residents, visibility at academic conferences for URM trainees, development of targeted marketing materials, and a visiting student program supported by networking with URM residents. The primary outcome measure was the percentage of matched residents in the categorical pediatrics, child neurology, and medical genetics training programs who identified as URM. The percentage of URM residents increased to 16% (6 of 37) in 2018, 26% (11 of 43) in 2019, 19% (8 of 43) in 2020, and 21% (9 of 43) in 2021 (a four-year average of 22% URM residents; P = .0002). This progress toward a more representative residency program was met by challenges, such as pipeline concerns, the minority tax, and recruitment during a pandemic. We were able to implement small, low-resource strategies that had a large cumulative impact and could be implemented in other residency programs. Specific tactics and challenges encountered are discussed in this special article.
An Initiative to Increase Residency Program Diversity
FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: The authors have indicated they have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose.
POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST: The authors have indicated they have no potential conflicts of interest to disclose.
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Monica L. Hoff, Nancy N. Liao, Claudia A. Mosquera, Alex Saucedo, Rebecca G. Wallihan, Jennifer R. Walton, Rebecca Scherzer, Elizabeth M. Bonachea, Lorina W. Wise, Olivia W. Thomas, John D. Mahan, John A. Barnard, O.N. Ray Bignall; An Initiative to Increase Residency Program Diversity. Pediatrics January 2022; 149 (1): e2021050964. 10.1542/peds.2021-050964
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