require that institutions possess strong leadership, adequate resources to support change efforts, strong planning and evaluation, and a long-term commitment.
Enhancing the racial and ethnic diversity of health professions education faculty can provide support for URM students in the form of role models and mentors, lead to important pedagogical changes, and “bring new kinds of scholarship to an institution, educate students on issues of growing importance to society, and offer links to communities not often connected to our campuses” (Smith, 2000, p. 51). Many health professions training programs have struggled, however, to increase the proportion of URM faculty members. To a degree, these failures are the result of common myths regarding URM faculty recruitment (e.g., that qualified URM faculty candidates are few, too highly sought-after to invest significant efforts into recruiting, and apt to leave following offers from more prestigious institutions; Smith, 2000).
Health professions training institutions can take several steps to improve their efforts at recruiting minority faculty. To begin, institutions should carefully examine their mission statement and assess how faculty diversity assists the institution to meet its goals. Identifying and recruiting qualified URM faculty candidates can be improved by utilizing active search processes that go beyond simply posting positions and recruiting though networks that are familiar to the faculty. Search committees should be diverse, to help in assessing and evaluating candidates of different backgrounds, and should have a close working relationship with the university administration to ensure the success of the search process. Once qualified candidates are identified, personal support in the form of a “champion”—someone willing to facilitate communication, advise the candidate, and advocate for the candidate during the search process—can ensure that the search committee has the opportunity to fully assess the candidate. Finally, posthiring support is critical for many URM faculty to address the challenges of earning tenure, balancing teaching and research, and other faculty concerns (Smith, 2000).
Several health professions training programs have implemented successful URM student recruitment and retention programs. Some elements of successful recruitment efforts include developing academic and educational partnerships with minority-serving institutions, addressing financial