student learning, increasing access to care among minority and medically underserved populations, and improving patient choice and satisfaction, among other benefits. Additional research is needed to quantify the benefits of diversity in health-care delivery. Such research should assess, for example, whether there are economic benefits associated with greater diversity among health professionals. Evidence summarized in Chapter 1 suggests that diversity among health professionals—associated with improved access to and satisfaction with care among racial and ethnic minority patients—can lead to better patient understanding of and compliance with treatment regimens, higher rates of follow-up and adherence, and fewer patient misunderstandings of treatment recommendations, all of which may influence patients’ health-care outcomes. The implications of this research are that better health-care outcomes among racial and ethnic minority patients—many of whom suffer from disproportionately high rates of illness, disability, and premature death—offer broad economic benefits for individuals, families, employers, and the nation as a whole, in the form of improved health status, fewer preventable illnesses, lower health-care costs, reduced workplace absenteeism, and greater productivity. These relationships should be assessed to contribute to the evidence base regarding the benefits of diversity among health professionals, and the results of such research should be widely communicated.
Recommendation 7-1: Additional data collection and research are needed to more thoroughly characterize URM participation in the health professions and in health professions education and to further assess the benefits of diversity among health professionals, particularly with regard to the potential economic benefits of diversity.
Increasing support for diversity efforts also requires strategies to educate health professions leaders, faculty, administrators, students, and others in the HPEI community regarding the benefits of greater diversity among health professionals. HPEIs should proactively and regularly engage and train students, house staff, and faculty regarding institutional diversity-related policies and expectations and the importance and benefits of diversity to the long-term institutional mission. Similarly, health policy makers, health systems administrators, and health professionals should understand how diversity improves their ability to serve the community. To achieve this goal, HPEIs can benefit from model curricula for training, including course material, workshops, and other educational strategies. Professional associations can assist in the development and dissemination of model curricula components and can serve as clearinghouses for this information. The most