What Does It Mean to Be an Underrepresented Minority Leader in Surgery

  • Jeffrey S. UppermanEmail author
  • Jessica N. Rea
  • Henri R. Ford
Part of the Success in Academic Surgery book series (SIAS)


A culturally diverse work force is important for addressing health disparities in the United States. Yet underrepresented minority in medicine (URMM) physicians remain scarce in the health care work force. In fact, there is a small number of African- and Hispanic-American surgeons in the surgical work force and especially in academic surgery. One of the key barriers is a dearth of URMM candidates in the pipeline. Furthermore, the gap between the proportion African- or Hispanic-Americans and the percentage of URMM students graduating from U.S. medical schools continues to widen. As a result, URMM surgical leaders face burdens based on several practical and social expectations (e.g. brown tax). This chapter explores several concepts including: the obstacles that URMM surgeons face in ascending to positions of leadership in academic surgery; the approach to overcoming some of these barriers as illustrated by pioneer URMM surgical leaders; and the roles of the URMM surgical leader.


Minority Surgery Leadership Diversity Mentorship Underrepresented 



The authors wish to thank the following outstanding leaders in academic surgery, who happen to be from an underrepresented minority in medicine, for their continuing support, mentoring, and insightful contributions to this chapter: L.D. Britt, Andre Campbell, Edward Cornwell, Steven Stain, Patricia Turner, and Selwyn Vickers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey S. Upperman
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jessica N. Rea
    • 2
  • Henri R. Ford
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryKeck School of Medicine of the University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Children’s Hospital Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Millier School of MedicineMiamiUSA

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