Racial and Ethnic Diversity of Family Physicians Delivering Maternity Care

Aimee R. Eden, Melina K. Taylor, Zachary J. Morgan, Tyler Barreto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Maternal and birth outcomes represent some of the most profound racial and ethnic disparities in health in the USA, and are, in part, attributed to a lack of diversity in the maternity care workforce. Family physicians are an often-overlooked part of the maternity care workforce, yet frequently provide care to underserved populations. This study aims to characterize the family physician workforce providing obstetric care in terms of race/ethnicity. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we used data collected via the American Board of Family Medicine Exam Registration Questionnaire from 2017 to 2019. Respondents included family physicians seeking to continue their certification in those years. We conducted bivariate tests and an adjusted analysis using logistic regression to examine associations with providing obstetric deliveries. Variables included race, ethnicity, age, gender, degree type, international medical graduate status, practice site, and rurality. Results: Of 20,820 family physicians in our sample, those identifying as Black/African American (OR 0.55, CI 0.41 to 0.74) and Asian (OR 0.40, CI 0.31 to 0.51) had significantly lower odds of including obstetrics in their practice than those identifying as White. We found no significant difference in practicing obstetrics between Hispanic and non-Hispanic family physicians (OR 0.94, CI 0.73 to 1.20). Asian (OR 0.40, CI 0.31 to 0.51) and Black/African American (OR 0.55, CI 0.41 to 0.74) physicians still have significantly lower odds of providing obstetric care than White physicians after controlling for rurality. Conclusions: Family physicians who identified as Black/African American or Asian are less likely to include obstetrics in their practice. A diverse and racially/ethnically representative maternity care workforce, including family physicians, may help to ameliorate disparities in maternal and birth outcomes. Enhanced efforts to diversify the family physician maternity care workforce should be implemented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Diversity race/ethnicity
  • Maternity care
  • Obstetric care
  • Patient-physician concordance
  • Workforce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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