Demographic Characteristics of Paramedic Students in the United States

James P. Manson, David I. Page, Denver Health Medical Center, Denver, Colorado

Introduction: African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians are underrepresented in medicine, nursing, and dentistry (IOM, 2004; IOM, 2001). While African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans represent more than 29% of the U.S. population, less than 5% of paramedics, 12% of nurses, 14% of physicians, and 7% of dentists are from these populations (Sullivan, 2001). Little data exist that demonstrates the ethnic diversity of paramedic students in the United States.

Hypothesis: Ethnic diversity of paramedic student graduates is not representative of national levels of diversity.

Methodology: Between January 2001 and December 2003, paramedic students participating in FISDAP, an interned based student tracking system, prospectively reported their clinical experiences. During account set-up, students voluntarily reported demographic data, including gender and ethnicity.  Inclusion criteria consisted of student consent, successful graduation and instructor verification of student records

Results: 1319 student records from 65 geographically distinct institutions met the inclusion criteria for this study.  637, 48% reported gender and ethnicity data.   Of these, 455 were male and 182 female.  Student responses for ethnicity were: African American 3% (n 20); Hispanic, 7% (n 44); Native American, 1% (n 5); Asian, 1% (n 5); Caucasian; 88% (n 563).

Demographics of Paramedic Students

Conclusion: The hypothesis is proven. While 12% of paramedic student graduates are African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, and Native American, these numbers do not reflect the national diversity rate of 29% for these populations.