July 26, 2023
Researchers from the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity at the George Washington University (GW) Milken Institute School of Public Health and ASPPH released a new study that identifies institutional characteristics associated with public health student diversity, including faculty diversity. The research also shows that despite an upward trend in diversity in the public health educational pipeline, minority students remain underrepresented.
The study - covering a five-year time period from 2016-2020 reveals that while applicant diversity has improved, enrollment continues to lag, particularly at higher degree levels. This suggests systemic barriers for minority students, such as financial constraints and lack of early exposure to public health sciences. To address these challenges, the authors recommend student-focused initiatives like informational sessions, financial aid assistance, and resources dedicated to underrepresented minority students.
The research also uncovers a direct relationship between faculty and student diversity. "Schools and programs invested in faculty diversity are also invested in student diversity," the authors noted, highlighting the necessity for universities and colleges to focus on recruiting and retaining diverse faculties.
Using data reported by ASPPH member schools and programs of public health, these insights can be extrapolated to other institutions, shedding light on the need to increase diversity within educational pathways for public health, a crucial step towards health equity. Learn more and read the report.