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Racial, Ethnic Underrepresentation Found in Med School Matriculants

Black, Hispanic, American Indian or Alaska Native students underrepresented versus U.S. population

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FRIDAY, Sept. 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Among medical school matriculants, black, Hispanic, and American Indian or Alaska Native (AIAN) students are underrepresented, according to a study published online Sept. 4 in JAMA Network Open.

Lanair Amaad Lett, from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined demographic trends using data from U.S. allopathic medical school applicants and matriculants from 2002 to 2017.

The researchers found that from 2002 to 2017, there was a 53 percent increase in the number of medical school applicants from 33,625 to 51,658, while the number of matriculants increased 29.3 percent from 16,488 to 21,326. During the study period, there were increases in the proportions of black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander men and women aged 20 to 34 years, while there were decreases in the proportions of white men and women; the proportion of AIAN male and female individuals remained unchanged. From 2002 to 2017, there was underrepresentation in black, Hispanic, and AIAN applicants and matriculants of both sexes; from 2002 to 2012, a significant trend was noted toward decreased representation for black female applicants (representation quotient slope, −0.011).

"Given the mounting evidence that diversifying the workforce to reflect the population served is key to providing high-quality, high-value, culturally effective care, we have an evidence-based imperative to find more effective policies to promote representation," the authors write.

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