Has racial/ethnic representation changed among US medical students?

September 04, 2019

Bottom Line: This analysis reports black, Hispanic and American Indian or Alaska Native students remain underrepresented in allopathic medical schools when compared with the U.S. population, despite new diversity accreditation guidelines. The study used self-reported data on race/ethnicity and sex for medical school applicants and enrolled students (matriculants) from 2002 to 2017. New diversity accreditation guidelines were instituted in 2009 by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. From 2002 to 2017, the number of medical school applicants increased 53.6% to nearly 51,658 and the number of matriculants increased 29.3% to 21,326. Absolute numbers and proportions of racial/ethnic minority medical school applicants and matriculants have ticked up over time but haven't kept pace with the makeup of their comparable age group in the U.S. population resulting in underrepresentation. Limitations of the study include limits of the data used. The authors suggest more robust policies and programs are needed to create a physician workforce representative of the U.S. population and progress toward that goal must be tracked.

Authors: Ronnie Sebro, M.D., Ph.D., and Jaya Aysola, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and coauthors

(doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.10490)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
-end-
Media advisory: To contact corresponding authors Ronnie Sebro, M.D., Ph.D., and Jaya Aysola, M.D., M.P.H., email Lauren Ingeno at lauren.ingeno@pennmedicine.upenn.edu">lauren.ingeno@pennmedicine.upenn.edu. The full study and commentary are linked to this news release.

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About JAMA Network Open: JAMA Network Open is the new online-only open access general medical journal from the JAMA Network. Every Wednesday and Friday, the journal publishes peer-reviewed clinical research and commentary in more than 40 medical and health subject areas. Every article is free online from the day of publication.

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