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September 2, 1998

Time to Shatter the Glass Ceiling for Minority Faculty

JAMA. 1998;280(9):821-822. doi:10.1001/jama.280.9.821

We all know that several sizable subgroups of the American population—principally African Americans, Native Americans, Mexican Americans, and mainland Puerto Ricans—remain severely underrepresented in the medical profession. Although they comprise almost a quarter of our countrymen and women, these subgroups of our population constitute less than 8% of practicing physicians.1 For academic medicine, the figures are even more disconcerting. Individuals from these underrepresented minority groups make up barely 3% of full-time faculty members in US medical schools (excluding historically black and Puerto Rican medical schools).2 Now comes word that this small group of minority scholars suffers from more than loneliness in our nation's medical schools; evidence is now at hand suggesting that underrepresented minority faculty with academic credentials comparable to their nonminority colleagues also have less success in gaining the upper rungs of the academic ladder.