Document Type

Honors Paper


Ana Lilia Campos-Manzo

Publication Date



Disparities in access to healthcare among U.S. racial and ethnic groups, including access to quality services, have existed for centuries (Gibbons, 2005), leading to inequality in health outcomes as race/ethnicity intersects with gender and socioeconomic status (Wellons et al., 2009; Yan et al., 2023). Patients from minority communities face disadvantages due to the lack of diversity amongst physicians, including communication barriers, lack of trust, lesser rapport, and lower level of comfort with doctors who are non-representative of patients’ demographics (Ha & Longnecker, 2010; Lopez et al., 2023; Maldonado et al., 2014; Weech-Maldonado et al., 2003). It is important, then, to explore in this context the patient-physician relationship as it relates to health outcomes from a mixed methods approach. This honors thesis will – (1) explore the racial/ethnic representation amongst physicians using a descriptive statistical analysis of secondary data, (2) explore healthcare providers’ perspectives on issues of racial/ethnic representations through a qualitative analysis of interview data, and (3) begin to identify the association between racial/ethnic representation and patient health outcomes using descriptive statistical analysis of survey data. More specifically, I coded a sample of physicians who work within two healthcare systems in the State of Connecticut for diversity in race, sex, and language spoken (n=134). I then interviewed Connecticut College alumni who hold positions within the healthcare system about their perspectives on diversity in healthcare (n=10). Lastly, I surveyed Connecticut College undergraduate students to gain insight into patients’ perspectives on representation and health outcomes (n=77). Ultimately, this research project aims to better understand both patients’ and healthcare providers’ perspectives in a healthcare system with racial/ethnic disparities. The results suggest the need for more equitable representation in healthcare. Healthcare providers acknowledge there are gaps in diversity and are supportive of change to improve care for diverse patients. Patient experiences demonstrate disparity in the level of quality care sought by under-represented patients.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.