Marginalized medical students more likely to say faculty lack respect for diversity, study finds

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Medical students from marginalized groups were more likely to perceive a lack of respect for diversity among faculty than their majority-population counterparts, according to a study published June 4 in JAMA Network Open.

Using data from the Association of American Medical Colleges' 2016 and 2017 Medical School Graduation Questionnaire, researchers analyzed the responses from 28,778 graduating medical students across 140 U.S. medical schools. 

Four findings: 

1. Overall, nearly 18 percent of respondents said their medical school faculty lacked respect for diversity. 

2. Nearly 37 percent of Black respondents reported perceiving a lack of respect for diversity among faculty, while about 14 percent of white respondents said the same.

3. Graduating medical students from other racial and ethnic minority groups, including those who identified as Asian or Hispanic, were also more likely to report the same, compared to white students. 

4. Female students were 1.17 times more likely to report the perceived lack of respect to diversity compared to male students, and students who identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual were nearly twice as likely to say the same compared to their straight peers.

"This perceived lack of respect for diversity has important implications for patient care, the learning environment, and social interactions with trainees," researchers said. "Further studies are needed to assess the mediators of students' perceptions of faculty respect for diversity and how these perceptions may more directly impact student well-being as well as to identify optimal interventions to improve role modeling of respect for diversity among faculty."

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