201033 Diversifying the academic public health workforce: Lessons learned from a national public health minority faculty retreat

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lucy Annang, PhD, MPH , Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health, Columbia, SC
Donna L. Richter, EdD, FAAHB , Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Faith E. Fletcher, MA , Department of Health Promotion, Education & Behavior, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Megan Weis, MPH, CHES , South Carolina Public Health Institute, Columbia, SC
Pearl R. Fernandes, PhD , Department of Biology, University of South Carolina, Sumter, SC
Louis Clary, BS , Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
While public health has gained increased attention and placement in the national agenda, little progress has been made in achieving a critical mass of racial/ethnic diversity among those in the academic public health workforce. To address this, in 2006 the Associated Schools of Public Health/W.K. Kellogg Foundation launched an effort to engage underrepresented minority faculty from schools of public health across the nation in a candid dialogue about the challenges surrounding minority recruitment, retention, and advancement to academic leadership positions.

In 2008, a qualitative assessment was conducted by telephone with a random sample of retreat participants to gather information regarding their retreat experience. Data were analyzed using NVivo software (version 7).

Thirty-two retreat participants agreed to be interviewed (94% response rate). Of these, 66.0% were female, 50.0% were black, 31.3% were Latino, and 9.4% were Native American. Three-quarters of the respondents were tenure-track faculty and 19% non-tenure-track. Of those who were tenure-track, 38% were Associate Professors, 12.5% Assistant Professors, and 50% Full Professors. Major themes to emerge included: (1) need for faculty to have a safe and supportive environment to discuss issues relative to recruitment, retention, and progression of minority faculty; (2) need for more intimate venues to promote connectivity to and networking with other minority faculty; and (3) need for continued progress in diversifying the academic public health workforce.

Overall, participants were pleased with the retreat and suggest that future forums may serve to address health disparities and the lack of racial/ethnic diversity in the public health workforce.

Learning Objectives:
After attending this presentation, audience members will be able to: Discuss issues surrounding limited diversity in the public health academic workforce.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I assisted with the development of the study protocol and data analysis. Also, I am an assistant professor with experience in study development, implementation, and evaluation and research interests in racial health disparities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.