Dr. Tom Colletti, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA
Diversity is an essential component of medical education. Increasing diversity is a focus of medical schools, PA schools, and general medical education. A more diverse clinical team could better serve patients' health issues from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. The focus must be on advancing antiracism to impact the barriers to medical education. There is a long history of racism in US health care. The culture can only be expected to change once the root of the problem is exposed. Once the problem is seen, named, and understood as an area of racism, it must be addressed. At that point, a change can be implemented. Training underrepresented minority students will increase access to care in underserved communities because they are more likely to practice in these areas after graduation. Increasing access to patients in underserved communities aligns with the goal of the PA profession. URM students lack the same opportunities for good K-12 education and higher education compared to nonminority students. The feelings of URM students choosing a program based on that program’s diversity go back to the overall problem. Simply recruiting a more diverse cohort of students will not be successful without creating a more diverse faculty and curriculum. Revamping education to advocate for diversity is an essential component of the process. The education model needs to reflect the population. Increasing diversity in PA education requires buy-in from teaching institution leaders and program faculty. There must be support from all parties to change the face of PA education.
Buccola B. Pathways to Increase Diversity in Physician Assistant Education. University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository. 2023; 5(2).
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