Medical School Diversity Report

Although nearly half of all medical school applicants were nonwhite in 2011, minorities are underrepresented in medical school faculties, according to a new report.

Although nearly half of all medical school applicants were nonwhite in 2011, minorities are underrepresented in medical school faculties, according to a new report by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

According to the Diversity in Medical Education report, many medical schools are assessing the climate and culture of the institutions. Diversity in medical education leads to increased excellence in care as physicians can leverage their diverse backgrounds, experiences and skill sets,

“… recent scholarship indicates that diversity better enables institutions and organizations to excel,” the report states. “For instance, teams comprised of varying viewpoints, perspectives, ideas, and backgrounds tend to outperform homogenous ones on problem solving tasks.”

The shift in medical school applicants toward minorities mirrors the demographic shift of young adults in America, according to the report. While the number of black or African American male medical school applicants is on the decline, the number of racial and ethnic minority women applicants has increased. Almost two-thirds (62%) of all black applicants were female in 2011.

In general, women have reached parity or surpassed male counterparts in medical school. Foreign and Asian first-time medical school applicants were split almost evenly between male and female applicants. Only among white applicants did males outnumber females.

The vast majority of 2011 matriculants did not expect to go into family practice, internal medicine or pediatrics, although they were more likely to go into those specialties than the matriculants from 2005.

Although 60% of all matriculants were undecided, Hispanic or Latino (36%) and black or African American (54.6%) matriculants were more likely to practice in underserved areas.

In medical school faculties, all races/ethnicities other than white were far more likely to be assistant professors or instructors. Among white faculty members 31% were professors, 23.7% associate professors, 36.9% assistant professors, 7% instructors and 1.5% other. Hispanics or Latinos were the next most likely to be professors with just 19.3%. Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander was the group least likely to be professors with just 5.1%.

Overall, whites made up 60% of faculty members, African Americans or Blacks were 2.9%, Hispanics 4% and Asians 13%.