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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

IUPUI: Researchers Examine Graduation and Academic Placement of Minority Doctoral Recipients in Public Health

Given public health’s emphasis on health disparities in underrepresented racial/ethnic minority communities, having a racially and ethnically diverse faculty is important to ensure adequate public health training. Researchers in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health – Indianapolis examined trends in the number of underrepresented racial/ethnic minority doctoral graduates from public health fields and determined the proportion of those persons who entered academia.

The study, published in Public Health Reports, analyzed repeated cross-sectional data from restricted files collected by the National Science Foundation on doctoral graduates from US institutions during 2003-2015.

The dependent variables were the number of all underrepresented racial/ethnic minority public health doctoral recipients and underrepresented racial/ethnic minority graduates who had accepted academic positions. Using logistic regression models and adjusted odds ratios (aORs), we examined correlates of these variables over time, controlling for all independent variables (eg, gender, age, relationship status, number of dependents).

The results revealed that the percentage of underrepresented racial/ethnic minority doctoral graduates increased from 15.4 percent (91 of 592) in 2003 to 23.4 percent (296 of 1264) in 2015, with the largest increase occurring among black graduates (from 6.6 percent in 2003 to 14.1 percent in 2015). Black graduates (310 of 1241, 25.0 percent) were significantly less likely than white graduates (2258 of 5913, 38.2 percent) and, frequently, less likely than graduates from other underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups to indicate having accepted an academic position (all P < .001).

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