A study collected data from multiple mental health organizations and clinical trials from 1996 to 2010 to assess the progression of increasing diversity in the mental health workforce and in randomized clinical trials for several psychiatric disorders in the United States.
The data showed that from 1999 to 2006, professionals from racial and ethnic minority groups increased by 3.8 percent in psychiatry and 1.2 percent in psychology. Representation of ethnic minorities increased 35 percent in 75 clinical trials conducted from 2001 to 2010.
The authors stated that although there was an increase in workforce diversity and ethnic minority representation in clinical trials, ethnic minority groups remain highly underrepresented in both psychiatry and psychology—more than three times less than their Caucasian counterparts.
Jeanne Miranda, Ph.D., a study coauthor and a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Psychiatric News, “We need to make sure that mental health research is done in settings where ethnic minorities and rural and low-income individuals will be included. We also must begin supporting minorities at early ages to help them through the entire education system so that they can join the [mental health] workforce. Currently, we tend to do this in a piecemeal way that is not as effective.” ■