Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Susan Epps

Committee Members

James Lampley, Michelle Lee


For many years graduate and professional education programs for the health professions have sought to increase the diversity of their student body to include students from a wider variety of backgrounds. Increasing the diversity of healthcare providers is an essential component of addressing inequities in healthcare. However, despite initiatives to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the health professions, these professions remain largely White and female. Previous researchers have sought to identify the reasons that racial and ethnic minorities are underrepresented in healthcare, and the barriers to persistence and success. Little research exists explaining why men are underrepresented in the healthcare professions, though many healthcare professions have historically been perceived as caregiving professions, and therefore, as “female work.” The purpose of this qualitative study was to add to the existing body of literature on underrepresented pre-health students by exploring the experiences of racial/ethnic minority and male undergraduate students on pre-health paths.

This study included 11 participants who self-identified as intending to pursue a graduate or professional healthcare program and as African American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Hispanic, or male; all were enrolled at one mid-sized, regional university in the southeastern United States. I utilized semi-structured interviews to investigate the experiences of the participants. The themes that emerged among the experiences of pre-health students, included common influences on career choice, what pre-health students believe they need to do to be competitive, challenges, fears and worries about the future, motivation to persist, resources and support utilized, and planning (or lack of planning) for alternate career paths.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.