PROPOSITION 209: A Dearth Of Black Medical Students
In the current issue of HealthQuest: The Publication of Black Wellness, Dr. Nathaniel Murdock, president of the National Medical Association, comments on the impact of Proposition 209 on California's medical school acceptance pool. When Californians voted in 1996 to ban racial and ethnic preferences in public hiring, contracting and education, a "devastating consequence" was that "no black medical student was accepted into the freshman medical school class at the University of California-San Diego last year." In fact, UCSD was the only one of nation's 126 medical schools not to include a single African-American among 1997 matriculating freshmen.
A Larger Concern
Dr. Murdock notes that while African-Americans comprise approximately 13% of the U.S. population, they only account for 4% of the country's doctors. And even if the move to end affirmative action would mean increased applications to the nation's four black medical schools, "black institutions couldn't expand fast enough to accept them." Dr. Murdock writes, "With a growing population of people of color, we need more black doctors. It makes a big difference to your health to have someone take care of you who's culturally sensitive, who may have had the same experiences you've had" (March/April 1998 issue).