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JAMA. 1998 Sep 2;280(9):767-71.

Minority faculty and academic rank in medicine.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston University, Mass 02118, USA.



Previous studies have found that fewer minority medical school faculty hold senior professorial ranks than do majority faculty and may not be promoted as rapidly.


To determine whether minority faculty were as likely as majority faculty to have attained senior rank (associate professor or full professor) after adjusting for other factors that typically influence promotion.


A self-administered mailed survey of US medical school faculty using the Association of American Medical Colleges database. The sample was stratified by department, graduation cohort, and sex.


A stratified random sample of 3013 full-time faculty at 24 representative US medical schools. All underrepresented minority faculty at these schools were sampled.


Attainment of senior academic rank (associate professor or full professor).


Of 3013 faculty surveyed, 1807 (60.0%) responded, including 1463 white (81.0%), 154 black (8.5%), 136 Asian (7.5%), and 54 Hispanic (3.0%). Overall, 980 faculty (54%) had attained senior academic rank, including 47 (30.5%) of 154 black faculty, 59 (43.4%) of 136 Asian faculty, 22 (40.8%) of 54 Hispanic faculty, and 852 (58.3%) of 1463 white faculty. White faculty had significantly more first-authored and total peer-reviewed publications than the other groups. After adjusting for the medical school, department, years as medical school faculty, number of peer-reviewed publications, receipt of research grant funding, proportion of time in clinical activities, sex, and tenure status, we found that the odds ratios of holding senior rank relative to white faculty were 0.33 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.17-0.63) for black faculty, 0.36 (95% CI, 0.12-1.08) for Hispanic faculty, and 0.58 (95% CI, 0.30-1.12) for Asian faculty.


Minority faculty were less likely than white faculty to hold senior academic rank. This finding was not explained by potential confounders such as years as a faculty member or measures of academic productivity.

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