North Carolina AHEC Program
fall 2012 newsletter | home
Two New Health Care Workforce Reports Released
The Diversity of North Carolina’s Health Care Workforce
This latest study analyzed race and ethnicity data for licensed health professionals in North Carolina. Highlights of the report include:
- There is an overall lack of diversity among North Carolina’s health professionals; one in three (33%) North Carolina residents is nonwhite compared to 17% of health professionals. Based on percentage of nonwhite practitioners, licensed practical nurses (31% nonwhite) and primary care physicians (27% nonwhite) can be considered “best practice” professions.
- North Carolina’s health professions are diversifying slowly over time and at different rates. From 1994-2009, primary care physicians saw the largest percentage point gain in nonwhite practitioners (14 percentage points) while surgeons (3 percentage points), dental hygienists (3 percentage points), and certified registered nurse anesthetists (2 percentage points) have seen the smallest gains. Physical therapy assistants saw no change in the share of nonwhite practitioners (12%), and occupational therapy assistants saw a one percentage point decrease in nonwhite practitioners during that time (from 12% to 11%).
- There are differences in racial/ethnic group representation among North Carolina’s health professions. Compared to the state population, Hispanic/Latino and African American/black practitioners are underrepresented in all professions except for African American/black LPNs.
- Despite being one of the more diverse professions, 42% of nonwhite primary care physicians graduated from international medical schools and another 37% graduated from other U.S. medical schools. By contrast, 71% of registered nurses were educated in North Carolina programs, with almost half of these (49%) educated in the North Carolina Community College System and another 25% in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Similarly, 63% of nonwhite respiratory therapists were educated in the North Carolina Community College system, and over half (58%) of American Indian/Alaska Native respiratory therapists were educated at Robeson County Community College. Other professions with high levels of NC educated nonwhite practitioners in 2009 were dental hygienists (84%) and licensed practical nurses (65%).
Erin Fraher, PhD, was a plenary speaker and presented these findings at the North Carolina Health Professions Diversity Conference in Greensboro, NC on August 29, 2012.
To access the electronic version of the report and slides, please visit the North Carolina Health Professions Data System (HPDS) website at http://www.shepscenter.unc.edu/hp. Hard copies of the report should be available by the end of September. Contact Katie Gaul at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy.
Developing an Open-Source Model for Projecting Physician Shortages in the United States
The goal of this project is to create a Web-based, open-source model to project supply, utilization, and shortages of physicians in the United States. We recently produced a report that describes how we envision that the projection model will work and our progress so far in developing the model. The report is organized according to a question and answer format, addressing issues such as how this model will help shape workforce policy and challenges we have encountered in the model-building process. The report is posted at http://www.healthworkforce.unc.edu/physmodel_products.html.