Section III: Geographic Distribution of the Physician Workforce by Race and Ethnicity

The U.S. population is undergoing significant demographic shifts as the racial and ethnic diversity of the population continues to grow. However, the U.S. physician workforce is diversifying at a much slower pace, and predicted shortages present challenges in meeting public health needs. The ability for all patients to have access to care is in part directly related to the geographic distribution of the physician workforce. In an effort to improve the recruitment and retention of health care providers in underserved areas and to mitigate the effects of physician workforce shortages, many federal incentive programs have been established.1-3 Furthermore, recent studies have investigated the effectiveness of various training models and recruitment strategies intended to improve the geographic distribution of the physician workforce.4-5

“A more racially and ethnically diverse physician workforce has positive implications for improving access to health care services in underserved areas and addressing health disparities.”

The map section of this report, with data derived from AAMC’s 2013 Minority Physician Database, the 2013 AMA Physician Masterfile, other AAMC data sources, and the U.S. Census Bureau, explores racial and ethnic diversity in direct patient care physicians at state and county levels in the nation. This map illustrates the general pattern of geographic variations in physician diversity at the state level. In addition, county level break downs are provided by race and ethnicity. These data will give readers a glimpse of the diversity of the physician workforce in their local area of interest across the nation.

A more racially and ethnically diverse physician workforce has positive implications for improving access to health care services in underserved areas and addressing health disparities.1-3 Therefore, this map will help medical schools and policymakers identify geographic areas for physician workforce diversity improvement and foster a well-distributed workforce that is responsive to the nation’s evolving health care needs.

Race and Ethnicity of Direct Care Physicians by State

The map below shows the concentration of select race or ethnicity of physicians per state. Roll over each state to view physician data for the selected race or ethnicity. County-level data can be seen by clicking on a state on the map.

Physicians Total Physicians
Population Total Population
Legend
Percentage of Physicians by State
Show percentages

State Totals

State Asian Black or African-American Hispanic or Latino White American Indian or Alaska Native
Show percentages

Total Physicians in

County Asian Black or African-American Hispanic or Latino White American Indian or Alaska Native
NB: Map data excludes residents and fellows. State data for total physicians also includes ‘Unknown’ and ‘Other races’.

References

  1. Walker KO, Moreno G, Grumbach K (2012). The association among specialty, race, ethnicity, and practice location among California physicians in diverse specialties. J Natl Med Assoc. 2012;104(1-2):46–52.
  2. Grumbach K, Mendosa R. Disparity in human resources: Addressing the lack of diversity in the health professions. Health Aff. 2008;27(2):413–422.
  3. Council On Graduate Medical Education (COGME) Twelfth Report. Minorities in Medicine. May 1998. Available at http://www.hrsa.gov/advisorycommittees/bhpradvisory/cogme/Reports/twelfthreport.pdf. Accessed July 16, 2014.
  4. Rabinowitz HK, Diamond JJ, Markham FW, Hazelwood CE. A program to increase the number of family physicians in rural and underserved areas: Impact after 22 years. JAMA. 1999;281(3):255–60.
  5. Hughes S, Zweifler J, Schafer S, Smith MA, Athwal S, Blossom HJ. High school census tract information predicts practice in rural and minority communities. J Rural Health. 2005;21(3):228–32.