Graduation and Academic Placement of Underrepresented Racial/Ethnic Minority Doctoral Recipients in Public Health Disciplines, United States, 2003-2015

Joanna R. Jackson, Ann M. Holmes, Elizabeth Golembiewski, Brittany L. Brown-Podgorski, Nir Menachemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: Given public health’s emphasis on health disparities in underrepresented racial/ethnic minority communities, having a racially and ethnically diverse faculty is important to ensure adequate public health training. We examined trends in the number of underrepresented racial/ethnic minority (ie, non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander) doctoral graduates from public health fields and determined the proportion of persons from underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups who entered academia. Methods: We analyzed repeated cross-sectional data from restricted files collected by the National Science Foundation on doctoral graduates from US institutions during 2003-2015. Our dependent variables were the number of all underrepresented racial/ethnic minority public health doctoral recipients and underrepresented racial/ethnic minority graduates who had accepted academic positions. Using logistic regression models and adjusted odds ratios (aORs), we examined correlates of these variables over time, controlling for all independent variables (eg, gender, age, relationship status, number of dependents). Results: The percentage of underrepresented racial/ethnic minority doctoral graduates increased from 15.4% (91 of 592) in 2003 to 23.4% (296 of 1264) in 2015, with the largest increase occurring among black graduates (from 6.6% in 2003 to 14.1% in 2015). Black graduates (310 of 1241, 25.0%) were significantly less likely than white graduates (2258 of 5913, 38.2%) and, frequently, less likely than graduates from other underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups to indicate having accepted an academic position (all P <.001). Conclusions: Stakeholders should consider targeted programs to increase the number of racial/ethnic minority faculty members in academic public health fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-71
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • academic careers
  • doctoral education
  • ethnicity
  • race
  • underrepresented minorities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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