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July 8, 2021

Strategies Potentially Associated With Increasing Racial and Ethnic Groups Underrepresented in Medicine: Application to Ophthalmology

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Family Medicine, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2021;139(8):825-826. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2021.2124

According to the Association of Academic Medical Colleges, only 6% of practicing US ophthalmologists identify as members of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.1 This despite the fact that the US Census Bureau reported that these racial and ethnic groups comprised 30.7% of the population in 2014.2 While medicine in general is less diverse than the national population, many other medical specialties are far more racially diverse than ophthalmology, with at least 12.6% of all physicians identifying as underrepresented in medicine (URiM). This lack of diversity is also reflected in ophthalmology’s professional pipeline, where only 7.7% of ophthalmology residents hail from URiM groups whereas 13.8% of all active US citizen-residents identified as being from a URiM group in 2019 and 2020.2,3 There is no evidence that these disparities are lessening; in fact, further studies show a slight downward trend in the percentage of URiM ophthalmology residents in the US from 2005 to 2015.2

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