The United States is rapidly transforming into one of the most racially and ethnically diverse nations in the world. Groups commonly referred to as minorities–including Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and Alaska Natives–are the fastest growing segments of the population and emerging as the nation’s majority. Despite the rapid growth of racial and ethnic minority groups, their representation among the nation’s health professionals has grown only modestly in the past 25 years. This alarming disparity has prompted the recent creation of initiatives to increase diversity in health professions.
In the Nation’s Compelling Interest considers the benefits of greater racial and ethnic diversity, and identifies institutional and policy-level mechanisms to garner broad support among health professions leaders, community members, and other key stakeholders to implement these strategies. Assessing the potential benefits of greater racial and ethnic diversity among health professionals will improve the access to and quality of healthcare for all Americans.