How Latinos are represented in medicine: 4 notes

A recent study found Latino groups are underrepresented in medical professions that require advanced degrees and overrepresented in positions that don't require a bachelor's or higher, The Washington Post reported Aug. 6.

The study, published in Health Affairs, analyzed data from the 2020 American Community Survey, which included demographic information compiled by the census between 2016 and 2020. Researchers compared data across 15 health occupations of non-Latinos with Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans and "other Latinos."

Here are three key findings:

  • Mexican Americans made up 1.77 percent of physicians, while Puerto Ricans were 1.13 percent of physicians, Cuban Americans 0.95 percent and "others" 2.98 percent.

  • In lower-level medical positions, Mexican Americans made up 17.85 percent of medical assistants, 16.58 percent of dental assistants, 10.92 percent of phlebotomists and 13.61 percent of home health aides.

  • Other Latinos made up 9.97 percent of all personal care aides.

Although the research showed representation gains for Latinos in healthcare, the authors wrote that "except for Cuban Americans, Latino representation in the health diagnosing and treating professions was well below their representation in the US population as of 2020."

This could be due to structural racism, a language barrier or financial aid, according to the study.

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