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Acad Med. 2011 Aug;86(8):928-31. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31822220df.

Commentary: the building the next generation of academic physicians initiative: engaging medical students and residents.


Data from the 2010 U.S. Census are a reminder of the diverse patient population in the United States and the growing health care needs of Americans. Academic health centers are tasked with reforming the system to expand its capacity for care and with cultivating innovation to generate the teaching, training, and research prowess needed to eliminate health disparities. At the center of this reform is enhancing the system that produces the human capital, including the physicians who care for the patients and the educators who train those physicians. Institutions and foundations have committed to the development of pipeline programs, from kindergarten through college, to create a diverse clinical workforce, but they have limited their direct promotion of diversity in the academic medicine workforce to faculty development programs. Despite faculty efforts, shortcomings in diversity persist, including a paucity of female full professors and deans, an insignificant increase in the proportion of underrepresented racial and ethnic minority faculty, and a lack of knowledge on the cultivation of the lesbian and gay faculty perspective. Furthermore, underrepresented racial and ethnic minority students in particular lose interest in academic medicine careers during medical school, and overall students lose interest in academic medicine careers during residency. The Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians Initiative is designed to develop interest and promote achievement in pursuing academic medicine careers. This initiative is needed to increase the pool of diverse faculty down the road and elicit their perspectives to more effectively address health care disparities.

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