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September 6, 2006

Building a Diverse Physician Workforce

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 2006;296(9):1135-1137. doi:10.1001/jama.296.9.1135

The article by Grumbach and Chen in this issue of JAMA1 confirms that postbaccalaureate programs are an effective means for increasing minority and disadvantaged students' acceptance to medical schools. These findings are timely, because the medical profession in the United States is in great need of documented ways to achieve substantially more racial and ethnic diversity. Absent sufficient diversity, medicine simply cannot fulfill its obligation to provide optimum health care services to everyone.2 In 2005, only 1043 US medical school graduates were black, only 936 were Hispanic/Latino, and only 96 were Native American. In aggregate, these graduates comprised fewer than 13% of all graduating MDs that year.3 That value is about half of the representation of these minority groups in the US population—a population that is increasingly diverse.