Objectives: 1) Identify factors that influence African American physicians to choose a career in otolaryngology; 2) determine the predominant practice setting for African American otolaryngologists who can be role models; and 3) determine if the presence of an African American otolaryngologist in academic setting influences career choice. Methods: Survey methodology included a 15-item survey to determine trends in practice and factors that influenced choice of specialty. Results: The results were reviewed for trends influencing career choice and practice location and stratified by age group. Most African American otolaryngologists are in academic practice and have subspecialty fellowship training. Enjoying medical student clerkship was the most frequently cited reason why African Americans chose otolaryngology as a career regardless of age. Early exposure was a driving factor in those 30 to 40 years old. Receiving mentorship was less influential in career choice for all age groups, but there was a positive association between those who were mentored in training and those who mentor faculty. Conclusion: The findings suggest the continued need for initiatives to increase African Americans in our specialty. Encouraging early exposure, intentional mentoring of students, and development of African American role models who can be mentors may help increase the number of African American otolaryngologist faculty. This can help our specialty achieve racial parity in a percentage that matches the number of African Americans in the United States workforce. Level of Evidence: 5 Laryngoscope, 130:2336–2342, 2020.
- career choice
ASJC Scopus subject areas