September 10, 2008

Diversifying the Medical ClassroomIs More Evidence Needed?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Medicine and Health Policy and Management, Center for the Health of Urban Minorities, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York (Dr Carrasquillo); and Department of Family and Social Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Albert Einstein Hispanic Center of Excellence, Bronx, New York (Dr Lee-Rey).

JAMA. 2008;300(10):1203-1205. doi:10.1001/jama.300.10.1203

Despite 30 years of public and private initiatives to increase physician diversity, the proportion of medical school graduates who are from underrepresented minority (URM) groups has stubbornly remained in the 10% to 15% range.1 This is at a time when the United States has become more racially and ethnically diverse, with current minorities projected to comprise 54% of the population by 2050.2 The justification for URM student diversity is often based on the principles of affirmative action and addressing prior injustices. Indeed, the well-documented history of widespread racism within organized medicine3 and the American Medical Association's apology4 is a reminder of how pervasive and tolerated such practices were only a few decades ago.

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