Increasing Resident Diversity in an Emergency Medicine Residency Program: A Pilot Intervention With Three Principal Strategies

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Much work remains to be done to align the diversity of the health care workforce with the changing racial and ethnic backgrounds of patients, especially in the field of emergency medicine.


In academic year (AY) 2012–2013, to increase the number of underrepresented minority (URM) candidates who were interviewed and matched, the Denver Health Residency in Emergency Medicine program (DHREM) initiated a focused pilot intervention with three principal strategies: (1) a scholarship-based externship program, (2) a funded second-look event, and (3) increased involvement and visibility of URM faculty in the interview and recruitment process.


One year after implementation of the pilot intervention, the percentage of URMs among all applicants invited to interview at the DHREM doubled (7.1% [20/282] in AY 2011–2012, 7.0% [24/344] in AY 2012–2013, and 14.8% [58/393] in AY 2013–2014) (95% confidence interval [CI] = 5–10, 4–11, and 11–19, respectively). Of all DHREM interviewees in AY 2013–2014, 17.6% (49/279) (95% CI = 12–23) were URMs, nearly a threefold increase from AY 2012–2013 (6.2% [14/226], 95% CI = 3–10). In AY 2013–2014, 23.5% (4/17) (95% CI = 7–50) of all new DHREM residents were URMs, compared with 5.9% (1/17) in AY 2011–2012 and 5.6% (1/18) in AY 2012–2013 (95% CI = 0–29 and 0–27, respectively).

Next Steps

Additional studies are needed to determine whether these results are sustainable and generalizable to other residency programs in emergency medicine and other specialties.

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