Representation of American Indian and Alaska Native Individuals in Academic Medical Training

Lala L. Forrest, Brooks P. Leitner, Cirila Estela Vasquez Guzman, Erik Brodt, Charles A. Odonkor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Importance: Identifying gaps in inclusivity of Indigenous individuals is key to diversifying academic medical programs, increasing American Indian and Alaska Native representation, and improving disparate morbidity and mortality outcomes in American Indian and Alaska Native populations. Objective: To examine representation of American Indian and Alaska Native individuals at different stages in the 2018-2019 academic medical training continuum and trends (2011-2020) of American Indian and Alaska Native representation in residency specialties. Design, Setting, and Participants: A cross-sectional, population-based analysis was conducted using self-reported race and ethnicity data on trainees from the Association of American Medical Colleges (2018), the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (2011-2018), and the US Census (2018). Data were analyzed between February 18, 2020, and March 4, 2021. Exposures: Enrolled trainees at specific stages of medical training. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was the odds of representation of American Indian and Alaska Native individuals at successive academic medical stages in 2018-2019 compared with White individuals. Secondary outcomes comprised specialty-specific proportions of American Indian and Alaska Native residents from 2011 to 2020 and medical specialty-specific proportions of American Indian and Alaska Native physicians in 2018. Fisher exact tests were performed to calculate the odds of American Indian and Alaska Native representation at successive stages of medical training. Simple linear regressions were performed to assess trends across residency specialties. Results: The study data contained a total of 238974607 White and American Indian and Alaska Native US citizens, 24795 US medical school applicants, 11242 US medical school acceptees, 10822 US medical school matriculants, 10917 US medical school graduates, 59635 residents, 518874 active physicians, and 113168 US medical school faculty. American Indian and Alaska Native individuals had a 63% lower odds of applying to medical school (odds ratio [OR], 0.37; 95% CI, 0.31-0.45) and 48% lower odds of holding a full-time faculty position (OR, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.44-0.62) compared with their White counterparts, yet had 54% higher odds of working in a residency specialty deemed as a priority by the Indian Health Service (OR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.09-2.16). Of the 33 physician specialties analyzed, family medicine (0.55%) and pain medicine (0.46%) had more than an average proportion (0.41%) of American Indian and Alaska Native physicians compared with their representation across all specialties. Conclusions and Relevance: This cross-sectional study noted 2 distinct stages in medical training with significantly lower representation of American Indian and Alaska Native compared with White individuals. An actionable framework to guide academic medical institutions on their Indigenous diversification and inclusivity efforts is proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number43398
JournalJAMA Network Open
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 13 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Representation of American Indian and Alaska Native Individuals in Academic Medical Training'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this