Diversity Corner

In 2022, Drs. Justin Williams and Naadira Upshaw were awarded funding through the Society of Pediatric Psychology’s Anti-Racism Grant mechanism. Our project, the “Development of the Minority Tax Questionnaire (MTQ),” aims to (a) operationalize the “minority tax” construct and (b) engage in an iterative process to create a measure of the “minority tax” within academia. The minority tax, which is sometimes referred to as the diversity or cultural tax in the literature, describes extra responsibilities (or “taxes”) that are placed on underrepresented minorities (URM) in spaces where they work. These extra responsibilities can include disproportionate engagement in diversity-related efforts in institutions, racism/discrimination, mentoring minoritized students and faculty, clinical efforts, lack of adequate and representative mentorship, isolation, and promotion inequities. Within academia, URM faculty’s minority tax can negatively impact their recruitment, advancement, and retention, as well as emotional and psychological well-being. The MTQ will provide minoritized faculty within academic medical centers and universities with a quantitative instrument to measure and operationalize this unfair and complex tax, as well as promote research delineating the minority tax’s impact on various aspects of well-being.  


Themes from qualitative interviews with URM psychologists and physicians within academic medicine include the high cost personal and professional consequences of engaging in these extra tasks, impression management within traditionally non-BIPOC spaces and institutions, and the cognitive demands of engaging in these extra tasks. Additionally, respondents endorsed a pull to provide mentorship to URM-identified learners (e.g., graduate and medical students, residents, and fellows) and junior URM-identified faculty and colleagues, shared there is a lack of or inadequate mentorship for URM faculty within academic medicine, and the high costs of being the URM representation within the academia. Institutional supports and needs for URM faculty who have experienced the minority tax include, but are not limited to, compensation of effort and activities, mentorship to help with career advancement, and acknowledgement from the institution and non-URM faculty about the added responsibilities and tasks that exist for many URM faculty in academic medicine. Furthermore, allyship (from non-URM faculty) and kinship (places where they can commune with other URM-identified faculty), the ability to be their full selves within the academy, and uplifting the URM scholars and clinicians that have been engaging in JEDI work before it became vogue within the academy were additional identified needs of URM faculty.


Currently, we are finishing our qualitative reviews with the goal of preparing for measure development later this year. Within our work, the indigenous voices has not yet been captured, and we believe this is a significant gap in informing our understanding of the full lived experiences URM-identified academicians. If you know of a physician or psychology colleague who might be willing to learn more about our study and share their perspective, please reach out to us at jwill30@emory.edu and nupshaw@emory.edu for more information.