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

  • Henri R. FordEmail author
  • Jeffrey S. Upperman
  • Joanna C. Lim
Part of the Success in Academic Surgery book series (SIAS)


It is well established that a culturally diverse work force is important for addressing health disparities in the United States. Yet physicians from an underrepresented minority in medicine (URMM) remain relatively scarce in the medical workforce. In fact, African Americans and Hispanics in particular have been relatively absent from the surgical workforce and especially from academic surgery. One of the key challenges is that there is a dearth of qualified URMM candidates in the pipeline, and the gap between the proportion of the U.S. population that is African American or Hispanic and the percentage of these students graduating from U.S. medical schools continues to widen. As a result, the few URMM surgical leaders face an inordinate burden. This chapter explores 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.


Leadership Position Ethnic Discrimination Medical School Graduate Underrepresented Minority Medical Workforce 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



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, and Selwyn Vickers.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henri R. Ford
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jeffrey S. Upperman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joanna C. Lim
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryKeck School of Medicine of the University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Division of Pediatric SurgeryChildren’s Hospital Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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