Success and attrition among deaf health students and professionals: Describing an underrepresented minority segment of the healthcare workforce.

Goals: We aim to describe the DHH healthcare workforce via survey, and to understand factors contributing to the attrition of DHH people attempting to enter the healthcare education system and workforce.

Description: Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) people constitute an underserved health minority population in the United States. While some evidence from the DHH and other minority populations suggests that DHH patients benefit clinically from working with language-concordant primary care clinicians (i.e., from communication concordance), and that DHH physicians and medical students are interested in working in primary care and with DHH populations, DHH people are under-represented in the healthcare workforce. Because data on hearing and other disability factors are not routinely collected, we aim to describe the DHH healthcare workforce via survey, and to understand factors contributing to the attrition of DHH people attempting to enter the healthcare education system and workforce.

Project Team: Christopher Moreland, M.D., M.P.H.; Lisa Meeks, Ph.D.

Understanding the Experiences of Racial Microaggressions among Minority Medical, Nursing, and Physician Assistant Students.

Goals: We aim to better understand the effects of racial microaggressions in medical, nursing, and physician assistant schools.

Description: This project studies how and when Black, Hispanic, and Native American students in medical, nursing, and physician assistant schools experience racial microaggressions, how microagressions impact academic performance, and effective strategies for creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment. The study will utilize a mix-method approach to elucidate findings relevant to academic faculty, deans, and administrators working to improve the racial climate of their institutions.

Project Team: Kupiri Ackerman-Barger, Ph.D., R.N.


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A lack of inlusion in health professions schools "impacts students' ability to thrive. We don't want our students to just survive our programs; we want them to meet their full academic potential."
Dr. Kupiri Ackerman-Barger, Center for a Diverse Healthcare Workforce


Meet the Researcher

Dr. Ackerman-Barger is assistant adjunct professor at the UC Davis Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. She provides a nursing and FNP/PA perspective and helps guide the Center to include inter-professional colleagues and develop a research agenda focused on diversity in nursing. Her academic interest relate to health equity and social justice. She has a particular interest in the preparation of nurse leaders and nurse educators with the capability and desire to promote diversity in nursing school as a mechanism for increasing nursing workforce diversity.

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Dr. Piri Ackerman-Barger on Microaggressions

Promoting Wellness and Satisfaction in Medical Residents by Understanding Microaggressions

Goals: We aim to determine the prevalence of microaggressions experienced by underrepresented physicians in residency. We will also explore how experiencing microaggressions influences satisfaction with residency training for underrepresented residents. Finally, we will identify the relationship between microaggressions and symptoms of depression in underrepresented physicians in residency.

Description: Racial microaggressions are subtle statements and behaviors that unconsciously communicate denigrating messages to people of color. Residents who are mistreated experience higher levels of stress, are at higher risk for depression, and have higher suicide rates than the general population. Residents subjected to abuse and harassment have more job dissatisfaction and think more about leaving the profession of medicine. This negatively impacts the pipeline of physicians. In this study, we will collect survey data from residents across the country to look at their experiences with microaggressions to understand the prevalence, how it influences resident satisfaction, the relationship with depression and the impact of multiple identities on microaggressions

Project Team: Kupiri Ackerman-Barger, Ph.D., R.N.