Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Pedro Villarreal III

Second Committee Member

Laura Kohn-Wood

Third Committee Member

Robert McMahon

Fourth Committee Member

Brianna Kent


This study investigated the under-representation of Black health care professionals through factors correlated with career attainment. The longitudinal design captured a 10-year period from the 10th grade until approximately age 26. This study represented the first correlational study of early adulthood predictors on health professions attainment. In a recent report by the AAMC (2014a), Black providers remained under-represented within the U.S. health care system. Under-representation of Black physicians correlated with lower cultural competency of care givers, inhospitable racial climate in the field, and an unequal quality of care for Black patients (Kaplan & Greenfield, 1996; Saha, Arbelaez, & Cooper, 2003; Schneider, Zaslavsky, & Epstein, 2002; Taylor & Rust, 1999). Social cognitive career theory (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994) served as a primary theoretical foundation for this secondary analysis of the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 - 2012 (ELS:2002-2012) data set. Results of this study correlated student aspirations, family structure, test scores, and private school attendance with positive health professions career attainment while male gender and Black race were negatively associated. This study represented the first to utilize longitudinal design to investigate health professions diversity for all health professions degrees in aggregate. The importance of high educational aspirations for achieving attainment and issues of gender, such as role strain, are discussed along with recommendations for future practice.


health professions; diversity; higher education; social cognitive career theory; Black; Education Longitudinal Study; allied health