Racial and Ethnic Composition of Departments of Health Policy, Management, Education, and Behavioral Sciences

Jemar R. Bather, Debra Furr-Holden, Emily M. Burke, Christine M. Plepys, Keon L. Gilbert, Melody Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The diversity of racial/ethnic representation in the health services and policy research (HSPR) workforce plays a crucial role in addressing the health needs of underserved populations. We assessed changes (between 2012 and 2022) in the racial/ethnic composition of students and faculty from departments of Health Policy & Management (HPM) and Health Education & Behavioral Sciences (HEBS) among the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health member institutions. We analyzed annual data from over 40 institutions that reported student and faculty data in 2012 and 2022 within each department. Racial/ethnic populations included American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN), Asian, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (NH/PI), Black, White, Unknown, and Multiracial. We conducted analyses by department and examined racial/ethnic composition by student status, degree level, faculty rank, and tenure status. We found statistically significant increases in Black assistant professors (HPM and HEBS) and tenured faculty (HPM), Hispanic graduates and tenure-track faculty (HPM), Asian professors (HPM: full and tenured, HEBS: associate and tenured), and Multiracial students and graduates (HPM and HEBS). Statistically significant decreases were observed in White professors (HPM: assistant and full, HEBS: all ranks) and tenure-track faculty (HPM and HEBS), AI/AN associate professors and tenured faculty (HEBS), Hispanic associate professors (HPM), Asian assistant professors (HEBS), and NH/PI students (HPM and HEBS). Our findings highlight the importance of increasing racial/ethnic representation. Strategies to achieve this include facilitating workshops to raise awareness about the structural barriers encountered by Hispanic faculty, providing research support, evaluating promotion processes, establishing more pathway programs, and fostering interdisciplinary academic environments studying AI/AN or NH/PI populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • academic public health
  • public health workforce diversity
  • racial and ethnic diversity
  • social and behavioral sciences
  • student and faculty diversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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