Purpose: There is little evidence regarding which factors and strategies are associated with high proportions of underrepresented minority (URM) faculty in academic medicine. The authors conducted a national study of U.S. academic medicine departments to better understand the challenges, successful strategies, and predictive factors for enhancing racial and ethnic diversity among faculty (i.e., physicians with an academic position or rank). Method: This was a mixed-methods study using quantitative and qualitative methods. The authors conducted a cross-sectional study of eligible departments of medicine in 125 accredited U.S. medical schools, dichotomized into low-URM (bottom 50%) versus high-URM rank (top 50%). They used t tests and chi-squared tests to compare departments by geographic region, academic school rank, city type, and composite measures of diversity best practices. The authors also conducted semistructured in-depth interviews with a subsample from the highest-and lowest-quartile medical schools in terms of URM rank. RESULTS: Eighty-two medical schools responded (66%). Geographic region and academic rank were statistically associated with URM rank, but not city type or composite measures of diversity best practices. Key themes emerged from interviews regarding successful strategies for URM faculty recruitment and retention, including institutional leadership, the use of human capital and social relationships, and strategic deployment of institutional resources. Conclusions: Departments of medicine with high proportions of URM faculty employ a number of successful strategies and programs for recruitment and retention. More research is warranted to identify new successful strategies and to determine the impact of specific strategies on establishing and maintaining workforce diversity.
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