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Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief (2020)

Chapter: Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief

Suggested Citation:"Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25738.
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Proceedings of a Workshop


March 2020

IN BRIEF

Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities
Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief

The study of inequality is increasingly acknowledged as multidimensional. Disparities in health outcomes, education attainment, social environment, transportation access, or housing can have compounding effects that exacerbate intersecting structural inequities in perpetuity. Many determinants of social well-being have intergenerational impacts and are linked to intersectional identities across racial, gender, class, sexual orientation, and disability paradigms.

The relationship between technology and inequality is also multidimensional. Technology access and use can be linked to educational attainment and improved health and digital literacy; however, disparities in technology access and use—“the digital divide”—have compounding effects on existing inequities along income, educational, racial, and geographic dimensions. Significant attention has been paid in recent years to the consequences of an information technology-driven future that either creates economic opportunity by transforming Americans’ access to goods and services, or conversely automates jobs and perpetuates the concentration of wealth by rewarding income to owners of capital over labor. If the benefits of technology are allocated towards communities and populations that are already benefitting from better access and outcomes, other social disparities could be exacerbated.

A multi-sectoral, interdisciplinary approach to understanding the dimensions and determinants of social disparities and their intersections is necessary to work toward equity and equality of opportunity as rapid technology innovation changes the future of work. To examine the matter, the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) held a workshop at the National Academy of Sciences on October 15–16, 2019 to consider the following questions: How can the research community of federal and state governments, academia, companies, and other actors take institutional and collective action to identify and address disparities at the intersections that will make interventions most effective? How can research institutions act as anchors in their communities to reach marginalized populations? What are best practices for community engagement in the context of deployment and use of emerging technologies without intensifying social disparities?1

Wayne Frederick, president of Howard University and a practicing physician, delivered the workshop’s keynote address on the ways in which the intersection of bias and representation drive disparities in research and clinical medicine. He explained that the lack of diverse representation in medical fields contributes to health disparities—a physician’s cultural competency is a key determinant of health in minority populations, yet only approximately 500 African-American males are enrolling in medical school each year in a nation of 300 million people. He described an “unconscious bias” that heightens this crisis of representation. As one example of the impact of unconscious bias, Frederick noted that outcomes for trauma patients vary based on race and/or insurance status. Insured African Americans are more likely to die after trauma than insured Whites. Uninsured African Americans are more likely to die after spending 72 hours in the hospital than uninsured Whites. Such disparities have the potential to significantly reduce life expectancy. In Washington, D.C., the life expectancy in Ward 3—a predominantly White area—is nearly 87 years of age, while the life expectancy in Ward 8—a predominantly African-American area—is 72 years.

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1For further reading, see: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Monitoring Educational Equity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25389; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/24624; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Information Technology and the U.S. Workforce: Where Are We and Where Do We Go from Here? Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/24649.


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Suggested Citation:"Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25738.
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Frederick noted that conducting simulations around health disparities could help to combat unconscious biases, and that Howard University’s simulation center is designed to promote education for all levels of health care professionals using the latest technology and equipment. He added that artificial intelligence is one technology that has the potential to worsen health disparities: it may be trained with narrow, unrepresentative data or with “real-world” data that perpetuates biases; and it may be implemented in ways that disproportionately harm certain groups of people. Diverse teams in health care can recognize and address unconscious biases, rather than encode them within the next generation of artificial intelligence technologies.

Frederick further explained that both the proportion of minority genomic data scientists in the total genomic data scientist pool and the diverse community contributions to available genomic data need to increase in order to improve the diversity of thought and enhance innovation. Past and current approaches to expanding the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) pipeline include incentives for pursuing STEM careers in graduate and postgraduate training; exposure of minority students to STEM disciplines in middle school, high school, and college; and joint-initiatives between Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)/Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) and research-intensive institutions. HBCUs represent 3 percent of all 4-year institutions but disproportionately generate 17 percent of bachelors’ degrees awarded to African Americans.2 A study by the National Science Foundation (NSF) found that HBCUs represented 10 of the top 11 baccalaureate-origin institutions of Black science and engineering doctorate recipients from 2002 to 2011.3 Also from 2002 to 2011, Howard University awarded science or engineering Ph.D.s to 220 African-American students; by contrast, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and Yale University combined granted the same degree to 222 African Americans. Frederick stressed that, though it is evident HBCUs are incredibly important to the training of Black doctorate recipients, these institutions do not have sufficient resources to continue to support this proportion of students.

Frederick discussed several important educational initiatives to address the complex challenges of bias and underrepresentation. The Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science focuses on early participation: 96 percent of its students go to college, 60 percent of whom go into a STEM discipline. In the BISON STEM Scholars Program, a program intended to attract high-achieving and community service-oriented high school students into various STEM disciplines, students who have committed to a STEM Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. have the opportunity to conduct research in high-powered laboratories during the summer after their first year. In the Pre-Health Scholars Program, HBCU students are supported as they prepare to take the Medical College Admission Test. In the Howard West program, select Howard University students have the opportunity to participate in experiential learning at Google with both Google engineers and Howard University faculty. The Howard University Research Centers in Minority Institutions Program, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), supports core laboratory facilities, professional development training for faculty, and research that could address health disparities. He emphasized the value of human interaction and mentorship in these initiatives as well as the broader need to move from missions of equality, to equity, to justice in order to remove barriers (Figure 1).

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Figure 1 Enabling justice for all students is the path that removes barriers to achievement.
Source: Wayne Frederick, Howard University, presentation to the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable on October 15, 2019.

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2National Science Board, National Science Foundation. Science and Engineering Indicators 2018. NSB-2018-1. 2018.

3National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Baccalaureate Origins of U.S.-trained S&E Doctorate Recipients. NSF 13-323. April 2013.

Suggested Citation:"Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25738.
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IDENTIFYING COMPOUNDING DISPARITIES IN HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND CONNECTIVITY

The first session of the full GUIRR meeting opened with two presentations on compounding disparities and frameworks for considering the social determinants of health and the social determinants of connectivity. Eliseo Pérez-Stable, director of NIH’s National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), explained that “minority health research” focuses on health determinants that lead to specific outcomes within a minority group and in comparison to other race and ethnic groups. The premise of minority health research is that racial/ethnic minorities are subject to discrimination and share a cumulative social disadvantage that has the potential to negatively affect health. He defined “disparity” as a health outcome that is worse in certain specific populations compared to a reference group. Health disparity populations include racial/ethnic minorities (as defined by the Office of Management and Budget), individuals with a less-privileged socioeconomic status, underserved rural residents, and sexual gender minorities. He noted that socioeconomic status is a particularly robust predictor of health. For example, a person living in a household at the poverty level (i.e., annual income less than $25,000) is three times more likely to die from any cause than a person living in a household with an annual income of $115,000. However, income or other metrics of socioeconomic status as health factors are drastically under-measured in clinical settings.

Pérez-Stable presented a new NIMHD research framework that identifies the priorities for minority health and health disparities research by depicting a wide array of ways in which health is influenced. It recognizes both biological and social determinants of health as domains of influence, and acknowledges that health is influenced at individual, interpersonal, community, and societal levels. The framework is meant to communicate that research on an isolated area of the framework may result in incomplete knowledge if it disregards the interactive effects of multiple influences on health and development (Figure 2).

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Figure 2 National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Framework.
Source: Eliseo Pérez-Stable, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, presentation to the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable on October 16, 2019.

Factors to assess socioeconomic status or social class in clinical medicine include education (the most consistent measure), parental education, income, occupation, type of insurance, zip code, and wealth or total assets. Researchers are developing standardized measures of structural social determinants of health such as access to affordable housing, green space and sidewalks, broadband internet and Wi-Fi, individual and public transportation, educational institutions, employment and economic opportunity, public safety, and healthy and affordable food. He commented that these determinants are driven by where a person lives and by societal issues.

Pérez-Stable reiterated Dr. Wayne Frederick’s point that workforce diversity also plays a role in health disparities: in 2017, 50 percent of children in the United States were from racial/ethnic minority groups, yet only 12 percent of medical school graduates were underrepresented minorities. As a result, African American and Hispanic/Latino physicians provide disproportionately more care for minorities and underserved populations. He suggested that training diverse clinicians has the potential to reduce disparities and improve access to and quality of health care. He emphasized the need for an equity quality measure for health systems as well as a shift to a care model with standardized social

Suggested Citation:"Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25738.
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determinants. Increased access to health care services via technology, such as patient portals, and community engagement could also reduce health disparities. He said that a one-size-fits-all approach with demonstrated efficacy could improve outcomes in many clinical situations—“precision” medicine must also include patient-clinician interactions because quality of life can improve if cultural competence is increased and structural discrimination is decreased.

John Horrigan, senior fellow at the Technology Policy Institute, followed with a presentation on disparities associated with digital connectivity. He stated that in light of the principle of universal service—that all people should have access to communication networks—the digital divide is an important policy issue. Digital access enables economic opportunity, encourages commerce, and affects the delivery of important services such as health care.

Policy makers think about the digital divide in terms of network deployment and adoption of service. A digital divide is apparent in locations with network speeds slower than 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload. Horrigan described a study that estimated that 21 million households—mostly rural—lack sufficient network speeds. However, he noted that measuring network speeds is difficult, and low-income urban areas confront similar network problems. A digital divide is also apparent in the share of households that do not subscribe to broadband service. Another study estimated that 20 million households—primarily in urban areas—do not subscribe to broadband. Eighty percent of those without broadband at home cite lack of affordability (for service or access devices) or lack of digital readiness, and the remaining 20 percent cite no or inadequate network service. He added that smartphones, though seemingly more economical, only close the digital divide to a certain extent because they often have data limits.

Horrigan shared additional data from the American Community Survey on broadband adoption trends. For 6 years, there has been a steady increase in the number of homes with broadband subscriptions; however, increased adoption is directly related to membership in a majority racial/ethnic group, proximity to an urban area, and increased income (Figure 3). While efforts to close the home broadband adoption gap occur at state and local levels, he mentioned that little progress has been made at the federal level. He described promising approaches to increase adoption rates and close the digital divide, such as offering discounted internet plans to low-income households and providing digital skills training. A participant wondered about the role of 5G in bridging the digital divide. Horrigan responded that 5G is expensive and would likely reach only dense, high-income areas in the near-term. He emphasized that focusing on 5G as a silver-bullet solution to bridging the digital divide could distract policy makers from addressing real problems.

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Figure 3 Broadband adoption in 2017 by (a) race/ethnicity, (b) geographic location, and (c) income.
Source: John Horrigan, Technology Policy Institute, presentation to the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable on October 16, 2019.

SUPPORT FOR RESEARCH AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ON EQUITY

The next session focused on strategic support for research and community engagement to address disparities at the intersections of health, education, and connectivity. Elizabeth Boylan, program director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, explained that the Foundation provides grants to support original research and education related to STEM and economics because of a belief that these fields are the chief drivers of the nation's health and prosperity. The Sloan Foundation offers scholarships for women and other historically underrepresented groups (i.e., African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and Alaska Natives) in STEM disciplines through its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion grants. It also establishes mentorship opportunities for postsecondary students and fosters institutional commitment to diversity through enterprise-wide partnerships.

In discussing the Sloan Foundation’s commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, Boylan mentioned several initiatives. She described the Minority Ph.D. Program, a scholarship initiative implemented on eight campuses through the University Centers of Exemplary Mentoring. Another program of the Sloan Foundation specifically targets Alaska Natives and American Indians; established in 2003, the Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership (SIGP) aims to increase Master’s and Ph.D. graduation rates of Indigenous students in STEM, create supportive and

Suggested Citation:"Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25738.
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knowledgeable communities, provide exceptional scientific training, and promote institutional change. By 2013, the Foundation provided financial support to seven SIGP universities for both scholarships and recruitment and retention efforts. These institutions united in 2014 to leverage their resources and collaborate—what began as “a collective force for good” is now becoming “a force for institutional change,” she said. An annual direct cost of only $1 million to support the SIGP has led to the recruitment of 375 Native students and the graduation of 198 Master’s and Ph.D. Native students.

Boylan highlighted barriers to progress in both programs. Despite receiving awards from the Foundation and from their respective institutions, students sustain financial pressures and debt. Institutions also often lack an understanding of Native students’ family expectations (e.g., attending ceremonial events, sending money home). Another issue is “funding insecurity”: even when students are promised a full funding package, they still depend on a principal investigator’s opportunity to secure a grant. She emphasized that more research is needed to understand pipelines into graduate school and associated impediments for underrepresented populations.

Next to present was Catherine Patterson, managing director of urban health and policy at the de Beaumont Foundation, who explained that the Foundation’s mission is to “advance policy, build partnerships, and strengthen public health to create communities where people can achieve their best possible health.” In the absence of federal oversight, she underscored the value of making recommendations to state lawmakers to protect the health and wellness of the public.

She described two policy initiatives: (1) The City Health Challenge aims to help cities thrive through policies that improve residents’ day-to-day lives. It includes nine policy recommendations, all of which have significant potential to boost health, well-being, and quality of life by addressing key social determinants. These recommendations include affordable housing, alcohol sales control, complete streets, earned sick leave, food safety, health food procurement, high-quality universal Pre-K, smoke-free indoor air, and prevention of tobacco addiction. (2) The BUILD Health Challenge (Bold, Upstream, Integrated, Local, and Data Driven) offers grants to communities based on their unique needs. The initiative requires a multi-sector partnership that embraces a shared responsibility for improving community health through levers such as communication, policy, data, and education—for example, after receiving a BUILD grant for healthy homes and partnering with four health entities, the Cleveland City Council passed a historic lead poisoning prevention law.

The final presentation of the panel was given by Mignon Clyburn, board member of the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society and former Commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). She explained that bridging the digital divide could help narrow the nation’s persistent health disparities. The FCC’s Connect2Health Task Force found that health is vastly different in connected communities than in digitally isolated areas, especially in terms of access to care, quality of care, and health outcomes. Clyburn noted that residents in rural communities with fewer options for broadband often suffer from obesity, mental health issues, cancer, opioid addiction, and diabetes. “Rural America is also facing a physician shortage, and only 39 percent of residents in counties with inadequate access to primary care physicians have access to broadband,” she continued.

Clyburn said that communities with options for remote connectivity can take advantage of telehealth, which is especially important for the elderly, those with chronic conditions, and the disabled. Advances in telehealth are already changing the landscape of health care, leading to shorter hospital stays, lower mortality during recovery at home, increased adherence to prescription routines, increased home health monitoring, and less frequent need for follow-up appointments. She emphasized that a “healthy America is a connected America” and explained that health care providers need more robust local networks and Wi-Fi systems to meet the rapid proliferation of digital devices. State and local governments are starting to recognize the value of broadband-supported health care in rural areas—49 states provide some form of reimbursement for the use of live video health services. Broadband connections are also critical for reducing the overall cost of health care for caregivers, patients, and insurers (e.g., a pilot program in Mississippi saved more than $300,000 for Medicaid when diabetics used laptops for telehealth). She reiterated that emerging technology applications can address disparities if high-performance broadband is deployed equitably throughout the nation to meet the health needs of every American, regardless of where they live.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR ADDRESSING DISPARITIES WITH EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

The next session focused on examples of how emerging technology can be used to address compounding disparities in communities at the local, state, and federal level, and how these communities can be effectively engaged in the pursuit of equity through technology adoption. Marcos Marrero, director of planning and economic development for the City of Holyoke, Massachusetts, described efforts to democratize innovation in Holyoke, one of the lowest income communities in the state. The Massachusetts Green High-Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) is a partnership among five universities—University of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University,

Suggested Citation:"Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25738.
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Harvard University, and Boston University—that supports economic redevelopment strategies in Holyoke. MGHPCC supports activities that foster the “collision of people and ideas” through the Holyoke Innovation District. Examples of other MGHPCC efforts include Holyoke Codes, which exposes middle school students to coding, programming, and robotics. A multi-stakeholder partnership with Holyoke Community College emphasizes workforce training in the controlled-environment agriculture space and creates a pipeline of local workers knowledgeable in sustainability, culinary arts, and emerging industries. The MGHPCC also works with the University of Massachusetts Amherst on the Clean Energy Transition, hoping to help Holyoke become the first 100 percent renewable green energy city in the state and serve as a test-bed for clean energy transformation. With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the data streams from 18,500 advanced meters (to provide real-time information on consumption) and meters from solar facilities owned by Holyoke Gas and Electric are used to predict consumer energy consumption, predict near-term solar energy generation, predict outage causes and impacts, and identify inefficient homes.

Instead of adopting approaches that offer short-term engagement and little interaction with the real people and problems of a city, Marrero suggested designing technology responses, research, and expertise based on community priorities. He noted that municipal governments and community organizations have little capacity to take on more overhead or projects; it is best to align new projects with existing work and priorities. Holyoke is working to leverage partnerships with universities in areas that are aligning with the city’s priorities, and is now trying to institutionalize a structure for all future partnerships with the University of Massachusetts.

Edward Metz, director of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program at the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), described two programs that support research, development, and evaluation of emerging technologies to address disparities in education: (1) the Department of Education/IES SBIR, from which more than 50 products have emerged for use in schools; and (2) the IES EdTech Research Grants program, which provides funding to academic institutions to conduct research and create technologies.

Metz explained that successfully addressing disparities and preparing career-ready students requires (1) connectivity and access to hardware; (2) research about what works and for whom; (3) a marketplace platform to inform decision making, increase the uptake of evidence-based research in practice, provide a pathway for developers to distribute their technology to schools, and increase revenue streams to sustain innovation; (4) infrastructure to replace the “factory model” in schools; and (5) an array of research-based and trial-tested products to improve student learning.

He provided an overview of IES-supported technologies that have the potential to address various educational disparities and have been well-received in classrooms across the United States. These technologies focus on diagnostic assessment (e.g., Zoo Academy, MOBY.Read), individualized learning (e.g., KinderTEK, Numbershire, ASSISTments, inqITS), assistive technology (e.g., myASLTech, Attainment Company), language development (e.g., STORYWORLD, Speak Agent), female participation in coding and engineering (e.g., Vidcode, Future Engineers), citizenship skills (e.g., ECO, GlobalED2), and culturally responsive pedagogy (e.g., Muzology, 7 Generation Games).

Katherine Kim, assistant professor at the University of California, Davis, discussed the roles of technology and citizen science in eliminating disparities. She illustrated the “informatics framework,” which includes tools to collect and access data for a relevant question, skills to analyze information, diverse knowledge that enriches meaning, and wisdom for community action. Applying citizen science to the informatics framework reduces structural barriers and expands the benefits of scientific advancement.

Kim described clinical health and distance education programs that address structural barriers to connectivity and improve telehealth for Native American and other rural communities in California. With 80 percent of its children obese, a tribal community in Northern California was concerned about the health of its members. After receiving training, youth leaders worked as community researchers to design a study using a mobile data collection application. The study revealed a correlation between physical activity and the ability to make healthy food choices. It also illuminated the lack of healthy options both for students in local schools and for adults without ready access to transportation and/ or a major grocery store. This citizen science experience taught the youth research skills, increased their confidence to take action on their findings, and improved health self-awareness. The research also had a significant impact on the broader community, with the development of a new field institute, community gardens, physical activities for cultural events, and a U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm-to-School Program.

In closing, Kim shared five steps to build technology and citizen science capacity to eliminate disparities: (1) create relationships and mutual engagement for professional researchers and community members; (2) think across the full informatics continuum; (3) determine priorities for scientific and technological advancement with citizens; (4) develop and apply technologies that address structural barriers to equity from mobile health, to therapeutics, to artificial intelligence; and (5) scale to a level of community sustainability.

Suggested Citation:"Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25738.
×

IMPACTS OF DISPARITIES ON THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE

The final panel of the workshop discussed the impacts of disparities on the future of the STEM workforce. Yu Tao, associate professor of sociology at the Stevens Institute of Technology, opened this session by discussing career outcomes in STEM fields. Research findings indicate that women are historically and currently underrepresented and disadvantaged at particular points in STEM careers. She said that although the gender pay gap in STEM has been declining over time, little attention has been paid to the intersectional effect of gender and race/ethnicity. She described one of her studies that focused on earnings among academic scientists and engineers. Raw data from a survey of doctorate recipients showed that men earned more than women across racial/ethnic groups in 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2013, and that Whites and Asian Americans tended to earn more than African Americans and Hispanics. Performing a marginal effects test to consider the intersectional impact of gender and race/ethnicity revealed that White women earned less than White men only in 2003 and 2006. Asian-American women earned less than Asian-American men only in 2013. Among African Americans, there was no significant gender earnings gap in any year; however, both African American men and African American women earned less than men and women of other racial/ethnic groups. Hispanic women earned less than Hispanic men only in 2010, but Hispanic women tend to be disadvantaged in earnings in the workforce, and earning a doctorate does not necessarily eliminate that disadvantage. Tao’s research identified a 4 to 5 percent gender pay gap from 2006 through 2013 for people with a Ph.D. working in academia and confirmed that gender pay gaps vary by racial/ethnic groups.

The second study that Tao described used NSF data to understand the extent to which factors such as race and gender interact to affect retention in engineering. In 1993, women with baccalaureate degrees had a slightly higher likelihood of staying in engineering than men with the same degree, but this trend reversed in 2003 and 2013. Once race/ethnicity variations were considered, it became evident that a higher percentage of Hispanic women stayed in engineering than women from all other racial/ethnic groups in 2003. Controlling for additional factors such as family status, employment characteristics, and class revealed a significant gender gap in retention among Whites, Asian Americans, and African Americans, while the gender gap among Hispanics was not found to be statistically significant. White men have the highest retention rate in engineering, and Asian American women have the lowest retention rate. She observed that the gender gap in retention did not change drastically over time, and both studies demonstrated that race/ethnicity and gender should be considered in order to create beneficial policies.

Daniel Ellerman, senior director of global equity, diversity, and inclusion at the Boeing Company, described corporate diversity and inclusion initiatives in light of the fourth industrial revolution and its implications for the workforce. He explained that previous technology revolutions have affected underrepresented communities exponentially more than majority communities. It remains to be seen whether automation and augmentation will lead to job loss or job creation as well as which skills gaps will surface. With the adoption of emerging technologies, low-end and high-end job salaries are predicted to increase by 20 percent, but the mid-range is expected to remain flat. Ellerman suggested this shift presents an opportunity to upskill people (without requiring a 4-year degree) but also raises questions about universal access to connectivity.

Large companies still rely on affirmative action regulations, and the gender pay gap is only 2 to 3 percent in the aerospace and defense industry, Ellerman noted. High-performing women in industry are often steered toward management and leadership positions, however, so there is a significant gender disparity in Boeing’s technology positions. A possible solution to increase the number of women in production and manufacturing is to emphasize lifelong learning and offer a dual career pipeline in technology and management. Boeing continues to explore alternate forms of credentialing and to expand its strategic partnerships to fill talent gaps. He acknowledged that both academia and industry still have work to do to eliminate these disparities and emphasized that there is a clear business case for more diverse and inclusive teams in the workforce.

In response to a question from a participant, Ellerman said that disability, gender, and race/ethnicity inclusion research is needed for organizations to create better policies and thus make better decisions. Laurie Leshin, GUIRR co-chair, expressed concern about the potential for the cheaper, faster skills-gap training approach to perpetuate disparities. Ellerman noted that reskilling and return-to-work programs have not historically been successful, so companies are still investigating alternatives. Another participant emphasized that local educational institutions and their students should be made aware of the variety of jobs available and the different types of training required for each, especially those that do not require a costly 4-year degree. Ellerman reiterated the need for companies to reevaluate how they reward their technical staff in comparison to their management staff, and Leshin pointed out that academic institutions are also realigning their incentives with their values to better address disparities.

Suggested Citation:"Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25738.
×

DISCLAIMER: This Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief has been prepared by Linda Casola as a factual summary of what occurred at the meeting. The committee’s role was limited to planning the meeting. The statements made are those of the author or individual meeting participants and do not necessarily represent the views of all meeting participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

PLANNING COMMITTEE: Katie Stebbins, University of Massachusetts at Boston; and Kaye Fealing, Georgia Institute of Technology

STAFF: Susan Sauer Sloan, Director, GUIRR; Megan Nicholson, Program Officer; Lillian Andrews, Senior Program Assistant; Clara Savage, Senior Finance Business Partner; and Cyril Lee, Financial Assistant.

REVIEWERS: To ensure that it meets institutional standards for quality and objectivity, this Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief was reviewed by Laurie Locascio, University of Maryland, and Alonzo Plough, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Marilyn Baker, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, served as the review coordinator.

SPONSORS: This workshop was supported by the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable membership, National Institutes of Health, Office of Naval Research, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the United States Department of Agriculture.

For more information, visit http://www.nas.edu/guirr.

Suggested Citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25738.

Policy and Global Affairs

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Copyright 2020 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation:"Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25738.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25738.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25738.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25738.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25738.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25738.
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Suggested Citation:"Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25738.
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Suggested Citation:"Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop - in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25738.
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Using Research and Technology to Address Compounding Disparities: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief Get This Book
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A multi-sectoral, interdisciplinary approach to understanding the dimensions and determinants of social disparities and their intersections is necessary to work toward equity and equality of opportunity as rapid technology innovation changes the future of work. To examine the matter, the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable held a workshop at the National Academy of Sciences on October 15-16, 2019 to consider how the research community of federal and state governments, academia, companies, and other actors can take institutional and collective action to identify and address disparities at the intersections that will make interventions most effective. The workshop explored how research institutions act as anchors in their communities to reach marginalized populations and considered best practices for community engagement. This publication summarizes the presentation and discussion of the workshop.

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