Diversity of the US Public Health Workforce Pipeline (2016-2020): Role of Academic Institutions

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



American journal of public health




To develop a diversity index (DI) comparing the diversity of graduates across public health schools and programs in the United States and to examine characteristics associated with institutions' graduate diversity. We analyzed longitudinal data from the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) across 5 academic years (2016-2017 to 2020-2021) for 109 ASPPH members. The outcome was the percentage of underrepresented minority (URM) students among those with bachelor's and graduate degrees in public health. The DI was constructed by dividing the percentage of URM graduates by the percentage of URM residents 20 to 35 years of age in the state where the ASPPH member was located. The mean DI score increased from 0.7 in 2016 to 0.8 in 2020, but URM students remain underrepresented. A 1-percentage-point increase in the proportion of URM faculty members was associated with a 0.7-percentage-point increase in the proportion of URM graduates ( < .001). Although the diversity of the public health educational pipeline shows an upward trend, racial/ethnic minority students remain underrepresented in public health. We found that institutional characteristics such as faculty diversity, program degree level, and area of study were associated with student diversity. (. Published online ahead of print July 13, 2023:e1-e9. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2023.307352).


Health Policy and Management