Where Are All the Future Black Doctors?

A new report finds that while Black applications to medical school gained this year, the increase in actual enrollment was a lot less robust.

Posted: 10/26/2011 05:18 PM EDT
Filed Under education

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reported Monday that applications to medical school reached an all-time high in 2011 across all ethnic groups, and Black applications surged at a higher rate than the national average.

While total applications rose by 2.6 percent, the number of African-American applicants increased by 4.8 percent.

However, Black application gains lagged behind those made by Latino students, and the percentage increase in enrollment revealed an even larger disparity. For Blacks, enrollment rose only 1.9 percent. Among Latino med students, by comparison, applications rose 5.8 percent among applicants and enrollment was up 6.1 percent.

In actual numbers — as opposed to percentage change — the AAMC reports that there were 1,375 Blacks enrolled as first-year medical students in 2011, compared to 1633 Latino students, 4,354 Asian students and 12,702 white students.

The AAMC says that the numbers signal positive movement toward diversity of tomorrow’s healthcare providers.

 “At the same time the number of applicants is on the rise, we also are encouraged that the pool of medical school applicants and enrollees continues to be more diverse. This diversity will be important as these new doctors go out into communities across the country to meet the health care needs of all Americans,” said Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., AAMC president and CEO.

The report also found that the majority of applicants had premedical experiences in community service and medical research, with 82.5 percent reporting community service experience in medical and clinical settings, 68.4 percent in nonclinical community service and 73 percent reporting experience in research.

(Photo: Chicago Tribune/MCT/Landov)

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