The following is a summary of “Pursuing a Career in Pediatrics: Intersection of Educational Debt and Race/Ethnicity,” published in the JANUARY 2023 issue of Pediatrics by Orr, et al.

For a study, researchers sought to examine the impact of educational debt and self-reported race/ethnicity on pediatric trainees’ decision to pursue a career in pediatrics. 

A cross-sectional study was conducted by analyzing data from the American Board of Pediatrics In-training Examination Post-examination Survey for the years 2018-2020 of categorical pediatric interns. The independent variable of interest was race/ethnicity, and the dependent variables were educational debt and the significance of personal, professional, and financial factors for selecting a career in pediatrics. To assess the proportions and means of dependent variables across self-reported race/ethnicity levels, one-way ANOVA F tests and chi-square tests of homogeneity were utilized.

The study analyzed responses from 11,150 (91.5%) individuals, of which 7,943 were included in the final analytical sample. The study found that 6.3% of respondents identified as Black/African American, 8.2% as Hispanic/Latinx, 22% as Asian, and 55% as White. Among the respondents, 44% reported educational debt exceeding $200,000, with 33% of Black/African American respondents reporting debt exceeding $300,000. The study also found that the most important factor influencing career choices was interest in a specific disease or patient population was the most important factor influencing career choices. The significance of educational debt in career choices was highest among respondents identifying as Black/African American, followed by Asian and Hispanic/Latinx. The importance of mentorship decreased with higher educational debt across all races/ethnicities.

The study concluded that the intersection of educational debt and race/ethnicity might affect pediatric trainees’ pursuit of careers in pediatrics. Furthermore, educational debt harms the importance of mentorship among pediatric trainees, regardless of race/ethnicity.