Racial and Ethnic Diversity Among Students, Graduates, and Faculty in Biostatistics and Epidemiology, 2010-2020

Melody S. Goodman, Jemar R. Bather, Xiangying Chu, Marcello Pagano, Christine M. Plepys, Ronnie A. Sebro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: This study is a follow-up to a study in 2020 that reviewed changes in the racial and ethnic composition of public health students, graduates, and faculty among Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH)–member institutions. In the current study, we evaluated how the racial and ethnic composition among biostatistics and epidemiology students, graduates, and faculty changed from 2010 to 2020. Methods: We analyzed data on race and ethnicity of enrolled graduate students, graduates (master’s and doctoral), and faculty at ASPPH-member institutions by using institutionally reported data from the ASPPH Data Center. We tabulated frequencies, percentages, and percentage-point changes by race and ethnicity. We measured differences between groups by using a test for difference in 2 proportions. Results: The number of enrolled students, graduates, and faculty in all departments increased during the study period, while the number of tenure-track faculty in biostatistics decreased. The percentage of enrolled Hispanic/Latino biostatistics graduate students increased from 5.6% in 2010 to 10.2% in 2020 (P =.007), and the percentage of epidemiology graduates increased from 8.8% to 13.8% (P =.008). We found no differences among other underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Most biostatistics and epidemiology professors at all ranks were non-Hispanic White, despite substantial decreases. The percentage of underrepresented racial and ethnic minority biostatistics and epidemiology professors was constant across all ranks. Conclusion: Although more Hispanic/Latino students are enrolled in and graduating from biostatistics and epidemiology departments at ASPPH-member institutions, we found no change among faculty. More work is needed to recruit and retain other (American Indian/Alaska Native, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander) underrepresented students and faculty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)546-554
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Reports
Volume138
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2023

Keywords

  • biostatistics
  • epidemiology
  • racial and ethnic diversity
  • racial composition
  • student diversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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