As medical students graduate this spring, American medical schools are celebrating the achievements of the nation’s newest doctors. They are also celebrating something else: an increase in the number of students from underrepresented populations.

From 2017 to 2018, the number of black students enrolled in U.S. medical schools rose by 4.6%, while the number of medical students identifying as American Indian or Alaska Native increased by 6.3%, according to data released by the Association of American Medical Colleges. It’s the latest evidence of a steady increase in the enrollment of nonwhite students over the past several years.

The numbers are encouraging, but only a start, educators say.

advertisement

“It’s good that the hard numbers are up,” said Dr. Mark Henderson, associate dean of admissions at the University of California, Davis. “But there are real gaps between who our residents are and the communities they serve.”

The increases are also no accident.

In the seven years leading up to 2009, the number of black medical students in the U.S. had been decreasing annually. In 2009, however, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) toughened diversity requirements for accreditation. Specifically, the group went beyond its previous suggestion that medical schools “should have policies and practices ensuring the gender, racial, cultural, and economic diversity of its students.”

Citing Supreme Court decisions among its reasons, the LCME now insists that schools “must” have policies and practices in place that achieve what it calls “appropriate diversity among its students….”

It worked, according to a December study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. After 2009, the overall trend of declining enrollment of nonwhite students reversed.

In some cases, schools that have failed to take heed of the new criteria have been forced to pay attention. In 2016, amid complaints of racism and student protests that led to high-level resignations, the LCME deemed the University of Missouri-Columbia medical school “noncompliant” in meeting diversity requirements.

With its accreditation at stake, the school began aggressively recruiting students of color and addressing long-standing problems affecting them. By 2018, the number of black students enrolled there more than doubled, from 12 to 25, while the number of Latino students increased from two to 10, according to AAMC data.

Medical schools have responded to the standards by dedicating space and funding to the task, and appointing individuals to help direct their diversity efforts. Ten years in, they are learning a lot.

From within, and from the top down

Dr. Joan Reede, a pediatrician and Harvard’s dean for diversity and community partnership, emphasized that institutions must go beyond superficial changes, describing a process that is less like plastic surgery and more like gene editing.

“Sure, you can make a pretty picture by adding different-colored faces,” she said. “But the goal of improving representation has to be added to a school’s DNA — has to be embedded in the organizational infrastructure.”

To that end, Reede led a task force that helped develop Harvard’s diversity statement, which it unveiled during a 2017 public forum. AAMC data shows that Harvard’s enrollment of black medical students rose almost 5.3% from 2017 to 2018, while its Latino enrollment has nearly doubled since 2009.

Whether issued as a standalone policy or added to a school’s guiding principles, a written diversity statement, presented publicly, doesn’t just formalize the school’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. It also signals that it’s a priority, explained Dr. Leon McDougle, chief diversity officer at Ohio State University.

“When you say out loud that inclusiveness is a value within the strategic plan of your institution, the faculty will follow, or at least stay out of the way.”

At Ohio State, the number of black medical students rose from 52 in 2009 to 95 in 2018. The number of Latino students rose from 18 to 48.

Dr. Keisha Gibson, who has been promoting diversity and inclusion as both a student and faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, cautioned that administrators and faculty members tend to respond in three different ways.

“We have people that are activated to help change things because they recognize the issues. Then there are some that recognize the issues but aren’t activated by it. And then there are the ones who just don’t get it,” she said.

“Sure, you can make a pretty picture by adding different-colored faces. But the goal of improving representation has to be added to a school’s DNA — has to be embedded in the organizational infrastructure.”

Dr. Joan Reede, Harvard’s dean for diversity and community partnership

It’s important, she added, for an institution’s leadership to fall firmly into the first category. “When mandates come from the top, that’s when the culture changes,” Gibson said.

Cultural change is what will help schools retain students from underrepresented backgrounds, said McDougle. “You can recruit all you want,” he said. “But if they don’t feel welcome, they won’t stay.”

It’s not just about the students

Medical schools have historically failed to diversify their faculty. With this in mind, the LCME has called for schools to diversify staffing as well.

“In the U.S., racial numbers among medical faculty are even worse than [for] the students,”said Henderson, the associate dean at UC Davis, which launched its Center for a Diverse Healthcare Workforce in 2016. “It’s mostly white men, so you don’t have mentors to support students who might feel like impostors just being here.”

Henderson recommends putting department heads in charge of faculty recruitment efforts.

“Incentivize deans to value faculty diversity,” he said. “Designate resources, offer funding, dedicate recruitment packages.

“Physicians are intensely competitive,” he added. “And if they know we’re measuring the percentage of the underrepresented, and their department is showing low numbers, they’re motivated.”

But when it comes to recruiting and supporting students of color, a diverse faculty must provide more than visible role models, said Reede, who founded a minority faculty development program for Harvard in 1990.

“I’m not just interested in who gets a seat at the table, but whose voice is heard once they’re sitting there, and how much their voices influence policy,” Reede said.

Meaningful measures

Making diversity part of accreditation criteria has effectively changed the definition of what makes an institution viable. Similarly, school leaders are rethinking what makes a medical student successful.

Some schools are reevaluating their entry and matriculation requirements, including test scores. They are also taking into account non-academic factors such as socioeconomic status.

Henderson said this is where he often finds the most resistance to diversity initiatives.

“The pushback comes when our average [test score] is lower,” he explained. “Someone in leadership came to me and said, ‘We’re bringing the wrong people into this medical school.’ There’s a lot of entrenched bias, and it can get very antagonistic. But a score on a test does not make a physician,” he added.

McDougle agreed. “They’ll start talking about scores, which have nothing to do with clinical care,” he said. “A high MCAT score does not correlate with high performance in medical school.”

He recalled helping a faculty member understand why it’s important to get away from narrow, often race-based notions about prospects for success.

“This one physician decided to require that residents in his subspecialty program had to come from a top pre-med and have at least five publications,” he said. “I asked him if he had done all that way back when. Then I got, ‘Well, I was from a small town, and my family wasn’t well off,’ and all that. I said, ‘But you got into your specialty, didn’t you?’”

All medical students, but especially those from underrepresented communities, can now expect more help. Today, schools may assign them coaches to help with writing essays and developing portfolios; training in test taking, time management, and other academic survival skills; counseling to help detect and manage learning disabilities and cope with social isolation and academic pressure.

“Of course we’re looking at our pipeline to make sure we get people who can handle the rigors of medical school,” added Gibson. “But we also have to make sure we are setting them up for success.”

Play the long game

Not all news is encouraging when it comes to diversity.

In February, the New England Journal of Medicine examined medical school enrollment data over a 20-year period, 1997 through 2017. While the authors noted a 30% increase in residents from “racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in medicine,” they also found that the proportion of such students had dropped from 15% to 13%.

The authors pointed particularly to the “growing gap between the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic makeup of medical school classes and that of the general population.”

Nationally, Latinos make up 17% of the U.S. population but only 4% of physicians. There’s a similar disparity for African Americans, who also make up 4% of the nation’s doctors but 14% of the population.

“Ultimately, that’s the problem we’re trying to solve,” added Henderson, a co-author of the NEJM perspective. “But this is the long game.”

Some schools saw steady increases over the past several years, according to the data from the AAMC. In others, numbers often stagnated or even dropped in the intervening years between 2009 and 2018. This happened with black students at Harvard and UC Davis.

“That’s how health interventions work,” McDougle said. “You don’t tell a patient to lose weight, or to stop smoking and they become healthy right away,” he said. “There’s some up and down.

“A public health campaign to reduce obesity or eliminate a contagious disease takes time to show improvement,” he added. “You have to stick to it to see long-term results.”

Leave a Comment

Please enter your name.
Please enter a comment.

  • I understand what is trying to be accomplished with trying to ‘level the playing field,’ but I think the way it’s happening is fundamentally wrong and only fosters discord and discontent.

    I think applications to school should be as objective as possible. I’m in favor of leaving race/gender/orientation, etc completely off the application to begin with.

    Hear me out–I’m not saying that’s the end of it, because I realize that if we only do this and do not make other changes, then the system may inherently benefit one group over another (for example, those born into affluent, or supportive families–regardless of race/gender/etc). If this is the case, then the way we RECRUIT for schools needs to change. Test scores are one way to measure applicants objectively; but it’s not the only way. For example, even in more subjective aspects (such as the interview), maybe interviews could be done with the same race/gender as often as possible to further negate biases? Or all interviews go through a diverse panel.

    I don’t have all the answers. I’m not sure what other objective measures would be best to use. Maybe we’ll have to do some trial and error and figure it out. But we need to try to make opportunities equal for all, and that–by definition–excludes measures such as affirmative action. I think they tried to do the right thing in the wrong way. We need a find better ways to make opportunities equal for all, and it CAN NOT start at the level of college entry applications. Yes, that needs to be addressed, but not as much as getting everyone started on the right foot to begin with.

    That’s the biggest problem, is that theoretically a meritocracy should be the best way to structure school admissions, but not everyone starts at the same starting point, giving some an ‘unfair’ advantage (not that they can help it). However, we also can’t make everyone equal. We can’t put everyone at the same level of socioeconomic status. We can’t put everyone in a loving family and supportive environment. We can’t fix what people (some of them, unfortunately) aren’t willing to change, even if we’d like to do so. We only have so much control. I think addressing these issues on smaller levels (state, and especially community) would garner the most change overall in the end. We need to help people (of all races) change their desires to slum off the system and spend their welfare on potato chips and drugs. We need to educate children everywhere about how important education is. We need to instill in every student around the nation the idea that the US is a place where they can be as successful as they want to be–and the only thing holding them back is their own level of motivation.
    There are some systemic and structural changes that need to occur as well; it’s definitely unfair for those with a lot of money or connections to be able to get their kids in outside of the system–but if we blinded all applications, theoretically that would be harder to do. …It would probably still happen, but maybe schools could be required to have an internal applications auditing dept that keeps things like that (and other discrimination) from happening. We don’t need to lower the bar–saying we do is insulting to those who we’d need to ‘lower the bar’ for. Diversity, for diversity’s sake, is inane. It will happen naturally if we can fix the real problem with the system. Affirmative action is sort of like giving propranolol for hyperthyroidism; it treats the symptoms, not the underlying disorder. Maybe we just need to better enforce good practices, and perhaps redefine exactly what the ‘bar’ is, and what it measures.

    (I am in no way an expert on this subject, and I’m not claiming it; my only qualifications are my own observations as a kid from a poor background, but luckily one that was supportive, and favored education. Please share conflicting points of view so I can learn, but please do so in a considerate way that fosters mutual learning).

  • Whenever their is an attempt to even the playing field there are people who cry out about it being “racism against whites” when people make that statement it illustrates the very privilege and institutional racism people are aiming to remedy. (How dare anyone make change to put the majority group on equal footing with anyone else) Like it or not non-minorities got a head start in the race of life in this country for no reason other than ethnicity. I agree that infrastructure changes need to be made but they often take decades or generations, I doubt anyone in the majority group would find it acceptable to wait decades or generations for the resolution of their most minuscule issues. We need both measures which address the issue immediately & in the long term as some of you suggested. And I think what is discussed in this article is a good step at immediately addressing this issue.

    • “Like it or not non-minorities got a head start in the race of life in this country for no reason other than ethnicity. ”

      This is untrue. I know your progressive mind wants to believe this is true, but try telling my extended family living in their trailer in the ex-burbs of a midwestern city that they got “a head start”. They got opiate addictions and morbid obesity and then got shut of many other areas of life.

      Your comment is racist and despicable.

    • Agree with debtstore. I used to live around the “bad” part of south Chicago, and the people there used to laugh when people said they had it bad. They said the white people who lived south of them lived in worse poverty, and they wouldn’t go to their neighborhoods.

    • @ debtstore, i guess you joined the conversation late & didn’t realize I discussed class as a major factor as well. You say the comment is racist, its not… its the truth, people of color still struggle to be treated like human being in this country, ive even got on an elevator in the hospital with my white coat on and a white lady clutched her purse, the point of this being old habits die hard. However, i will agree to say that statement is racist if you can show me where whites were denied the right to vote, Denied employment, and the ability to live in any neighborhood they could afford; also tell me when whites have been forced to work without pay; all of which fully enforced by the US govt. when you can show the US government has done this to whites, i will recant my statement about whites having a headstart. I dont have any animosity toward whites because that was the system at the time, and if I could have used it to better myself in those time I probably would have. However, if i was brought to task for those actions, I would try to call someone racist for bringing them up or deny that those actions gave myself & family an economic headstart.

  • I want the best physician to take care of me and my experience is that academic achievement does play a major role in physician competency. With basically affirmative action one will always wonder if a physician was admitted based on merit. Furthermore, how is fair to have different admission criteria. Aren’t we all people just trying to do our best. Identity politics is destroying the fact that we are all Americans. As an aside, success as a child is all about parenting. No monetary compensation can change that. Why doesn’t the African American leadership emphasize parenting and education instead of victim hood.

    • Bravo. Speak truth to these racists who believe that we should treat people differently based on the color of their skin.

    • You are mistaken, success as a child is about available resources. Even whites children from empoverised areas struggle. Minorities suffer more from this secondary to US govt policy which forced them to live in poor areas, with substandard schools & resources. Parenting is important, but it’s very irresponsible to suggest minorities dont “parent” their children. Where were the anglo-saxon parents when their children came up with slavery, jim crow, redlining, and various other atrocities all over the world? Do we ever say that community should have focused on parenting? Cause their are clearly some moral deficiencies their.

  • Thank you Jeff, well stated. “We whites” are silenced, by “others” as also much by our own peers, and labelled racists / discriminators / bigots when we dare to fend for “whites”. It is ridiculous how the pendulum swings in just one direction, undermining the competitiveness that forces people to be better at what they do, and not get advanced due to the color of skin. “We whites” are being discriminated against, even by our own kind. The exaggerated love for non-white has to stop, and KKK-style hatred also has to stop. We all have to strive for a better balance. Only then is discrimination forced out the door.

    • Strive for a better balance you say. Well you let me know when that better balance happens. Right now I see ABC stores on every corner in the hood instead of libraries and manicured sidewalks for jogging that promotes health and wellness. Right now I see kids traveling to foreign countries with their parents and being exposed to humanities, literature, and art so that they are groomed at an early age to speak the colloquial of their peers when they enter into universities; meanwhile a mother is struggling to meet ends means working three jobs and the only “art” her child gets is the constant blaring on a radio feeding his mind that getting high, drinking, and hot chick is the epitome of success. Balance? Last time I checked African Americans walked off of plantations with nothing but a sack of clothes and the shoes on their feet and has tried their best to fit into a society that has really done nothing to close the widening wealth gap. In the Oxford published book entitled “the sum of small things” the author explicitly states that “Whites” are able to afford inconspicuous consumption such as live-in nannies, gardeners, and better healthcare due to emphasis placed on education….and this is based off of statistical data that follows the trends of American spending. The book goes on to say that Whole Food stores are strategically constructed in areas based on the level of education. It’s easy to scream and shout and say that you are being discriminated against but have to ever bathed on your college campus because your lights and water went off due to insufficient funds? Until you have actually walked in their shoes do not assume that there is exaggerated love. In actuality there is none and sadly to say these starking statistics prove that point. Simply put the only reason these schools have increased their enrollment is to keep their accreditation and not be penalized.

  • Racism against whites has now become part of the system. We are just supposed to accept it, that we she should be embarrassed by our skin tone. Isn’t that what the struggle for civil rights was supposed to be against. That you should be judged on your abilities not the color of your skin!! Now we have a new Jim Crowe standards that say it’s ok to spew bigotry and discriminate against a group based on there race. If it’s all a numbered game then we should have NBA teams have more diversity on there teams that represent the percentage of each race in the population regardless of ability. I’m disgusted that my children are now openly discriminated against. We have now changed the people we discriminate against but it doesn’t make it right. I’ve seen it first hand. My question is who will step up and lead a new civil rights movement against what has become systemic and bigotry against people of European decent

    • It’s not our fault that we were snatched up out of our country, stripped of our sense of identity, and shipped over here in chains like cattle. We’re still trying to figure out who we are as a people and culture. You wonder why we celebrate people like Martin Luther King, Jr, Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, Serena Williams? Because if it wasn’t for them and people that bravely stood up against social injustice we would still be drinking from water fountains labeled “Blacks only” and being spit on from school buses while we had to walk to school. The little bit of freedom we do have we have had to fight for, march for, boycott for, get lynched for. You all are just mad that we have had ENOUGH and have become more vocal about the racial divides and silent mistreatment that is happening across America. Whether you like it or not we are here. We are people. And we deserve the same rights to the freedoms and liberties that you all so freely enjoy.

    • https://www.thoughtco.com/the-trans-atlantic-slave-trade-44544
      Slavery was also a traditional part of African society — various states and kingdoms in Africa operated one or more of the following: chattel slavery, debt bondage, forced labor, and serfdom.
      During the eighteenth century, when the slave trade accounted for the transport of a staggering 6 million Africans, Britain was the worst transgressor – responsible for almost 2.5 million. This is a fact often forgotten by those who regularly cite Britain’s prime role in the abolition of the slave trade.
      Under the leadership of Thomas Jefferson, the new state of Virginia in 1778 became the first state and one of the first jurisdictions anywhere to stop the importation of slaves for sale; it made it a crime for traders to bring in slaves from out of state or from overseas for sale; migrants from other states were allowed to bring their own slaves.
      The last recorded slave ship to land on U.S. soil was the Clotilde, which in 1859 illegally smuggled a number of Africans into the town of Mobile, Alabama.
      CORE had some of its whites murdered for organizing protests for African American interests of freedom and equality.
      Segregation of public facilities — including water fountains and restrooms — was officially outlawed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964, after a rare cloture vote in the U.S. Senate.
      De jure segregation was outlawed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. In specific areas, however, segregation was barred earlier by the Supreme Court in decisions such as the Brown v. Board of Education decision that overturned school segregation in the United States.
      Not mad as much as wanting people to get facts straight and listen to people like Larry Elder, Walter E. Williams, Thomas Sowell, who indicate data/proof that personal choices and the welfare/break up of the African American family is a major problem. Medicine is supposed to have some science. I’m sorry it doesn’t correspond to what you believe. Facts don’t care about our feelings.

    • Vic N- Stop trying to justify what happened and the current American state with history. The fact is, it did happen and despite your argument about our situation due to “poor choices” is a terrible way to justify the fact that there is impartiality. Who cares about segregation on schools…inner city schools are still shabby and Caucasian parents have raised hell at board meetings when certain bus lines have been moved to incorporate them within those schools. Who cares that facilities have been segregated, to this day neighborhoods are separated by color and hiked prices and “white flight” and gentrification still exist. There is a reason why the black family is in a state of turmoil. Many of our African American men end up in jail for petty crimes; studies have shown that the government has calculated already by the time a child reaches the 3rd grade how many more jails need to be constructed. You can throw your fancy dates and facts around all you want, it doesn’t change the reality that many minorities face on a daily basis due to their socioeconomic situation that they did not choose but were born into based on the unfair history that preceded them.

    • Vic N- Virginia wasn’t the first state, Delaware is the first state. Also your dates/source are in correct there is documentation of slaves arriving and slavery existing in Va well after those dates

    • Kelsey – in life we have choices. As has been indicated, start making positive choices and then lets see what is left over, which would be the “institutional racism” claim. I have no control over not being Einstein, but I did have/make/look up what would be best choices for me to get out of the “ghetto”. Its that simple. In medicine there are things you can choose to do and things you have no control over. I suggest you do what I do, and that is to help groups who are working hard, making good choices, and support the stuffing out of them. Unless every robbery, shooting, drug deal, is not the choice of some, why complain? Unless every female complains on rape, why do you think people are going to say having 3 kids and not being married with no father (or father/one father in jail) is a smart move?
      It was the govt who went around (Larry Elder is the source) and said get rid of your men and we’ll give you welfare. Just say no to the control because that was exactly what it is. It can be done.

  • Most of the arguments here are stating that they want a competent doctor, not someone who has struggled their way through medical school and took longer to complete. Just because it took you longer does not mean that you will be any less of a good physician than those that finished on time. Little do people know that many schools have “files”. Students get together after exams and make documents of all the questions that they remember. These 300 page “files” get passed along from one class to the next. And guess who does this??? You guessed it. And guess who doesn’t have access to these extensive files??? You guessed it. And guess who ends up struggling and not passing through each semester on time while their counterparts are soaring and making Deans List every semester with minimal effort? You guessed it. Who illegally has ADHD medicine (which is shared among friends) and can sit 16 hours straight and study which ultimately messes up the grading curve? You guessed it. I’ve heard of females doing some risqué things just to obtain A’s and glowing letters of recommendations. Does this always happen? No, but people on the outside do not realize there are so many biases, situations, and perspectives that make up the dynamics of medical school, it is simply impossible to tackle all of them. And I’m not saying that only one race does this, many races form groups and do what they feel is necessary to get through, it’s a very cutthroat/competitive environment and the pressure to succeed goes beyond racial implications.

  • As a current URM medical student, I’ve clearly and quickly come to realize how many of my future colleagues were “pushed along” because their mom or dad was an alumn. Furthermore, when the adversity hits them, those same parents come to the rescue to keep them in school or “see what can be done” to help. This isn’t about recruiting for talent, it’s about recruiting for human life and their well-being, period. Whatever background you come from, that includes you and the neighbor who looks nothing like you. After jumping thru as many and often times, MORE obstacles than my classmates…I can say with confidence I was not chosen to attend one of top schools in the nation off of race. The majority of URM in my class have Masters degrees, and currently teaching (often white) classmates some of these concepts we need for licensing exams. The statistics are not lowered and exceptions are not made. Sad that society even assumes that. Those same ones go on to FAIL their licensing exams on first attempt (which you never hear about) while we pass with flying colors. Does this apply to all? Of course not, but Reconsider how you view your physicians, the truth may shock you, especially those “subpar URM.” The Doctor practicing over 20 years was right, you do not have to be a genius to complete medical school. Some just work hard to achieve and surpass admission standards, others have a more straightforward path.

    • The only reason society assumes that is because standards have been lowered in the past (and not saying medical school) for URM’s to be represented. That is one problem I have, as it does give a bad reputation, when as you indicated, was not deserved.

  • This is scary as heck as a patient. I’m in my early 40s and my health is increasingly important to me. If schools are ignoring test scores and just picking students because they’re black that isn’t cool. The public deserves well trained doctors not doctors that were pushed along because they were black.

    • First, the article literally says that pre-admission test scores do not correlate with performance in medical school. Second, when black patients see black doctors they receive more effective care. Selecting physicians representative of diverse communities improves the health of the public. White doctors, no matter their test scores, can’t do this. Third, the status quo is that for generations doctors were pushed along because they were white. Check your racism.

      https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2018/08/28/black-physicians

    • “Second, when black patients see black doctors they receive more effective care. ”

      So are you indicating that only a specific race (or even gender) of doctor has to be given to a specific group for them to receive medical care? Is the same true of Asian doctors to whites? In other words, substitute the particular group/gender/race and is bias inherent in any and all groups?

    • I’m saying that people of color have a lot of good reasons to not trust white people/white physicians, the same way women have a lot of good reasons to not trust male people/physicians. That’s why representation matters.

    • So you’re saying that no one can be trusted that is white? Then the same could be said when you institute that for any group. Just because everyone is a member of a group, doesn’t mean you tar and feather them all. That is exactly what is accused of whites, men, etc. and its not true at all. If someone has issues, they resolve them in other ways. If someone can’t give another a chance, as a human being who maybe would like to extend a hand of friendship, regardless of group membership, then why should society in turn, do that for another? That is exactly what you accuse a group of. That’s what people are saying. Not that there hasn’t been outrageous things done, but there has been improvement and if someone refuses to see it, refuses to allow people to change, then that is not a problem we solve by changing criteria for jobs. Give people a respectful chance or they won’t give you a respectful chance.

      Common humanity.

  • If one does not make the minimum grade, one does not get in. Period. Those of minority that did cut the grade are very worthy physicians, and this should never be diluted. I would not want to be treated by a physician who got his degree and license by minority status rather than academic merit.
    If doctors are needed from minority groups, then in those groups is where base education needs a boost to come up to the overal required standard. THAT is how minorities can improve to make the cut to Med School that HAS to be the same for all applicants. Otherwise roles reverse, with “whites” become discriminated against. Like in anything else in a competitive world : making the grade should have NO exceptions.

    • +99999. Lowering standards dishonors the blood, sweat and tears of those who went before and made that grade. I’ve gotten involved (in a small part) in attempting to get mentors, groups, etc. for the younger minority generations, still in high school, to foster the same qualities those who have gone before have. They do not deserve to have their qualities questioned, and to have an unquestioned reputation as equal to the challenge.

    • “Base education needs a boost”??? Great argument however, most minority students go to schools in areas that lack the proper funding to provide such “boost”. A recent NPR article stated that the educational divide in America is becoming greater and greater; especially in New York. As a 4th year minority medical student I have to thank my parents for raising me in an area that provided me with an exceptional education and the grace of God. I did the hard work without race having anything to do with it and based on the clinical evaluations from my primarily Caucasian preceptors, I will make a “fine physician”.

    • WW – “Great argument however, most minority students go to schools in areas that lack the proper funding to provide such “boost”. ”

      How did previous docs make it then? Is the issue the culture that doesn’t place emphasis on academics, and parents who are on the lookout to do what they can for their kids? In one minority scholarship award event here, the vast majority of these young men were going into the computer and engineering fields. Maybe the issue is also of they just have other opportunities than medicine open to them?

  • I strongly agree that standardized tests and how the scores are used to determine admission are a major barrier to achieving equal opportunity in this nation. Underrepresented minority (URM) have lower scores on standardized tests and there is no correlation of scores to success. Why are these tests continued to be used? The MCAT is one example that negatively impacts aspiring URM physicians from admission to medical school. Please refer to my published article for more details: Genao I, Gelman J. The MCAT’s restrictive effect on the minority physician pipeline: a legal perspective [published online August 27, 2018]. Ann Intern Med. doi:10.7326/M18-0545

A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day in science and medicine

Privacy Policy