Minority Enrollment in Medical Schools Declining Across the United States
Although a growing number of researchers have said that increasing the number of minorities enrolled in medical schools "is an important antidote" to racial health disparities, the number of minority medical students across the nation is declining, the Baltimore Sun reports. Reasons for the decline are "complex and numerous," but some observers point to an increasing number of reverse discrimination lawsuits filed against medical schools that had implemented ratios or affirmative action policies. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the decline in minority medical school enrollment began in 1996, when an appeals court outlawed racial admission preferences at the University of Texas, and California voters approved Proposition 209, which banned the practice. Between 1996 and 2001, the number of black students in medical school fell by 11%. According to the Sun, the problem will likely "get worse" because many public university medical programs have stopped recruiting minority undergraduate students and eliminated outreach programs because of cuts in federal funding over the past two years. AAMC President Dr. Jordan Cohen said, "Anti-affirmative action efforts have had a chilling effect nationally as schools feel more limited in what they can do to increase their numbers of minority students." Dr. Donald Wilson, dean of the University of Maryland's medical school, added, "The anti-affirmative action stuff ... really is destructive," especially when "what we need is a population of doctors that can provide excellent care to an increasingly diverse population" (Pelton, Baltimore Sun, 7/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.