Promoting Diversity to Eliminate Health Disparities
Increasing the diversity of our health care workforce has been suggested by many sources as a tool to eliminate these disparities and inequities by increasing trust and communication and improving access to care. Diversity also has been recommended as a means to improve medical education for all students and to broaden the scope of medical research. As the country's population has become more diverse, the diversity of the PA profession has not kept pace. Isolated efforts to increase diversity in the PA profession have included targeted outreach to minority students, task-dedicated program recruiters, a holistic admissions process with a diverse admissions committee, and community engagement. These efforts need to be stepped up and should include an organized national effort to increase diversity in the PA workforce. The objectives of this review are to (1) describe the extent of health disparities, (2) discuss how increasing the diversity of the health care workforce can decrease these disparities and benefit our patients and our students, and (3) consider options for increasing diversity in the PA workforce.