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January 13, 1989

Black Student Enrollment in US Medical Schools

Author Affiliations

From Howard University, Washington, DC.

From Howard University, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 1989;261(2):272-274. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420020126043

Blacks represent about 12% of the nation's population, but only 6% of the total medical school enrollment, 5% of medical school graduates, 5% of postgraduate trainees, 3% of physicians in practice, and 2% of medical school faculties. Addressing this underrepresentation of blacks in medicine not only is a matter of justice, equity, and national conscience but also has implications for the provision of quality physician care to this nation's minority and medically underserved populations. Black physicians are more likely to understand the cultural and social context of illness and disability among blacks and are also more likely to be able to communicate effectively with black patients. Black physicians are also more likely to practice in communities whose residents lack adequate access to medical care. An approach to addressing the problem of underrepresentation is proposed, consisting of activities at the precollege, college, and medical school levels.

(JAMA 1989;261:272-274)