HealthDay News — Latinos remain underrepresented in U.S. health professions that require advanced degrees, according to a study published in the July issue of Health Affairs.
Indira Ghandi Islas, M.P.H., from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington, D.C., and colleagues used 2016 to 2020 data to compare the representation of the four largest Latino subpopulation groups (Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans, and other Latinos) in the health workforce versus their representation in the U.S. workforce.
The researchers found that Latinos overall were underrepresented in most of the health diagnosing and treating professions. Mexican Americans were the most underrepresented subpopulation in health professions requiring advanced degrees. For health occupations requiring less than a bachelor’s degree, all groups were overrepresented. Overall, Latino representation increased during the study period among recent health profession graduates (6.7 to 13.5 percent at the bachelor’s degree level; 4.8 to 9.7 percent at the master’s degree level; 4.3 to 8.0 percent at the doctoral level).
“As we can see from this study, much more needs to be done to strengthen and diversify the health workforce in the United States,” coauthor Edward Salsberg, of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., said in a statement. “A lack of diversity among the health professions can exacerbate health disparities for Latinos and other minority populations.”