Discrimination in the cardiology field: 5 survey findings

Underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities in the cardiology field are more likely to report experiencing professional discrimination and less likely to negotiate salary than their white counterparts, according to survey findings published Oct. 18 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The findings are based on an analysis of the American College of Cardiology's 2015 Professional Life Survey, the most recent year of the decennial survey. There were 2,245 respondents who provided racial/ethnic data. Of those, 1,447 identified as white, 564 as Asian or Pacific Islander and 37 as multiracial. There were 197 respondents who identified as Black, Hispanic or Native American, which the researchers grouped as underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities. 

The survey assessed career satisfaction and advancement, personal and family issues, discrimination, job negotaions and burnout, among other topics. 

Five findings: 

1. More than 91 percent of underrepresented racial and minority respondents reported career satisfaction and said their career opportunities were similar to their peers. 

2. At the same time, underrepresented racial and minority cardiologists were more likely to report experiencing discrimination (52.3 percent) than their white couterparts (36.4 percent). 

3. Women (57 percent to 69.2 percent) of all racial and ethnic groups were more likely to report discrimination than men (13.9 percent to 44.6 percent). 

4. Racial and ethnic minority cardiologists were less likely to negotiate or prioritize salary (20.6 percent), benefits (23.3 percent) and work hours in their first job (31.3 percent) compared to white cardiologists at 13.6 percent, 10.9 percent and 19.3 percent in each category, respectively. 

5. Overall, white cardiologists were more likely to report higher rates of burnout relative to racial and ethnic minorities. 

"Despite calls for racial and ethnic diversification in medicine or cardiology, there has been little change," said Kevin Thomas, MD, lead study author and associate professor of medicine at the Duke University Research Institute in Durham, N.C. "Putting into place methods to support those who are underrepresented in medicine is critical moving forward." 

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