Report Calls for Improving Diversity in Health Care Professions

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A new report says diversity among the nation's health care providers isn't growing along with that of the population as a whole.

The Institute of Medicine is urging the government and educational institutions to prod more blacks, Latinos and others to become doctors, nurses, dentists and psychologists. The group's report says diversity is important in health care fields because racial and ethnic minorities are much more likely than white peers to serve other minorities and people in poorer communities, and it says many Latinos are more comfortable seeing health care professionals who speak Spanish.

It is urging health education institutions to include things like race and ethnicity in admissions decisions. And it wants Congress to boost funding for programs to increase diversity in the health care work force.