The Policy Argument for Healthcare Workforce Diversity.

TitleThe Policy Argument for Healthcare Workforce Diversity.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsMensah MO, Sommers BD
JournalJ Gen Intern Med
Date Published2016 Nov

This perspectives article considers the potential implications an affirmative action ban would have on patient care in the US. A physician's race and ethnicity are among the strongest predictors of specialty choice and whether or not a physician cares for Medicaid and uninsured populations. Taking this into account, research suggests that an affirmative action ban in university admissions would sharply reduce the supply of primary care physicians to Medicaid and uninsured populations over the coming decade. Our article compares current conditions to the potential effect of an affirmative action ban by projecting how many future medical students will become primary care physicians for Medicaid and uninsured patients by 2025. Based on previous evidence and current medical student training patterns, we project that a ban could deny primary care access for 1.25 million of our nation's most vulnerable patients, considerably worsening existing healthcare disparities. More broadly, we argue that the effects of eliminating affirmative action would be fundamentally contrary to the Association of American Medical Colleges' stated goal of medical education-"to improve the health of all."

Alternate JournalJ Gen Intern Med
PubMed ID27431386
PubMed Central IDPMC5071285