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Pathways: Inclusivity in Dermatology

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA), in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health and Janssen, are launching “Pathways: Inclusivity in Dermatology” in 2022 to increase the number of practicing dermatologists who are underrepresented minorities (URiM) in medicine over the next five years.

Why is the AAD/A launching the Pathways program?

People of color frequently face unequal access to health care and experience poorer health outcomes. In the field of dermatology, these patients often don’t know where to turn for skin health advice and are 50% less likely than white patients to see a dermatologist for the same conditions. The specialty has a powerful opportunity to advance care and make a positive impact on the lives of these patients. Inspiring a new, diverse generation of dermatologists to bridge this gap can help accelerate the changes needed to improve health care equity in the specialty and ensure patients of color connect with the care they need.

The Pathways program is working to create a more diverse and inclusive specialty by engaging students from Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities, which are currently underrepresented in medicine, in programming from high school age through medical school that builds the skills, knowledge, and interest to pursue a career in dermatology. Through scholarship offerings, skills workshops, mentorship programs, and leadership training, the initiative aims to achieve the following over the next five years:

  • Increase the number of dermatology residents from Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities from approximately 100 residents to 250 residents by 2027, or by over 50%.

  • Increase dermatology program faculty from Black, Latino, and Indigenous backgrounds by 2%.

  • Increase Pathways “touchpoints” promoting dermatology to Black, Latino, and Indigenous high school, college, and medical school students by 10% each year.

These goals have the potential to substantially reduce barriers to care, as various studies have linked increased diversity in the physician workforce to improved health care and outcomes for people of color. According to “Increasing racial and ethnic diversity in dermatology: A call to action,” a study published in JAAD, diversity in the physician workforce improves outcomes not only for people of color, but for all patients. Studies also reveal that physicians of color are more likely to see non-white patients and provide a disproportionate share of care to underserved populations. This strongly suggests that increasing the number of practicing dermatologists from these populations can help reduce health care disparities. But according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges, in 2020, just 65 of the 796 applicants for dermatology residencies were Black or African American, and only 39 were Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin.

The Pathways: Inclusivity in Dermatology program is calibrated to increase interest in dermatology starting in high school and continue to generate and expand on that interest through college and medical school, culminating with mentorship support during residency. Learn more about each stage:

Wondering if dermatology is right for you?