University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository

University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository


Physician Assistant


Dr. Laura Witte


Purpose: Mentorship trends across the health professions will be reviewed to ascertain the benefits, limitations, and efficacy of practices that can be adopted by stakeholders of the Physician Assistant/Associate (PA) profession to increase racial/ethnic diversity in the PA workforce. A diversified workforce begins with successful recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities to reflect the profile of communities that remain underserved. Bringing parity to an inequitable landscape requires intentionality and purposeful implementation of strategies that go from pipeline to practice.

Methods: OneSearch, PubMed, Google Scholar, and the Journal of Physician Assistant Education databases were searched from 2016 to 2022 using the keywords: mentoring, minority mentorship programs, pipeline to practice, diversity, recruitment, retention, and health equity. Data extracted from randomized control trials, systematic reviews, manuscripts, full-text papers, census reports, and commentaries were used in this review.

Results: Underrepresented minorities (URMs) benefit from mentorship across the professional pipeline. Targeted mentorship of the URM after matriculation into healthcare training programs has resulted in increased performance on professional board exams, retention, student well-being, scholarship, community involvement, peer mentorship, increased URM applicant pools, and program growth.

Conclusions: Mentorship is integral to recruitment and retention. It is a mechanism to diversify the healthcare workforce. Training programs across the health professions offer pipeline programs that target URMs for recruitment, but a limited number of mentoring programs were identified that specifically targeted URMs while enrolled in those programs. Mentoring the URM fosters the development of professional identity and is enhanced by trained mentors, especially when provided by URM mentors. The benefits and limitations of mentoring trends were reviewed. The studies were small in number, and few lacked longitudinal data to demonstrate an objective association between mentoring and URM workforce entry. Limited evidence-based approaches quantified the widely subjective intrapersonal and intra-professional benefits of mentorship that result in increased URM workforce entry or diversity. Expanding a diversified healthcare workforce will warrant early identification, intervention by mentoring, intentionality, sustainable efforts, institutional support, and funding.


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