National Institute on Aging

A New Study Finds Black Medical Students Face Bias During Residencies

Researchers at Yale University have conducted a study exploring the role of race and ethnicity in resident training experiences. In the United States, Black, Hispanic, and Native Americans make up one-third of the country’s population, but only 9 percent of practicing physicians.

The research team, led by Dr. Aba Osseo-Asare, an assistant professor at the Yale School of Medicine, conducted interviews with medical residents from underrepresented groups during a conference in 2017. The participants represented a range of races, ethnicities, medical specialties, and geographic locations. They were asked about their experiences as a medical resident including incidents involving race and discrimination and the diversity at their institutions.

The interviews provided the researchers with three major findings:

* Residents from underrepresented groups experienced bias and microaggressions daily.

* They were asked to serve as “ambassadors” to help resolve issues of diversity at their institutions.

* And they experienced a dichotomy between their professional and personal identities.

To address this problem, the research team suggests that residency programs conduct diversity and inclusion programs in ways that do not place undue burdens on minority residents alone. They also encourage programs to strategically plan their diversity and inclusion efforts to include more proactive methods such as forums for discussing racial issues and anti-bias training.

Dr. Osseo-Asare is a graduate of Princeton University in New Jersey. She earned her medical degree at the University of Rochester in New York.

The full study was published by the JAMA Network Open and can be read here.


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