Saint Louis University Journal of Health Law & Policy

Document Type

Symposium Article


This Article addresses the organizing question of this symposium—whether diversifying state medical boards (SMBs) would improve their effectiveness in disciplining doctors—by drawing on the comparable experiences of corporate boards of directors and lawyer disciplinary boards. Reexamining our own qualitative study of corporate board diversity conducted several years ago, we find that almost of all of the arguments for board diversity raised in the business literature or our own interviews also tend to support diversity on SMBs. Reviewing the legal profession’s experience with the diversity question on lawyer disciplinary boards, we find that many of these arguments have also been recognized, at least implicitly, by state bars and are embodied in the legal profession’s initiatives to improve diversity in its disciplinary processes. Based on these two sources of evidence, our recommendation is that SMBs should continue and strengthen their efforts to pursue diversity. Specifically, we recommend that each board publish its demographic diversity targets along with an annual report on a standard form reporting the board’s diversity compared to those targets and an explanation whenever a diversity target is not achieved. Energizing external actors like medical professional associations to support and advocate for SMB diversity efforts may also be helpful along with considering how to make SMB service more attractive to potential diverse members.