Altering the Course: Black Males in Medicine

Altering the Course: Black Males in Medicine


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Number of pages:49
Year published:2015
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While many initiatives and programs supported by foundations, medical schools, and government have contributed to increasing diversity in the physician pipeline, there is one major demographic group that has reversed its progress in applying to medical school: black males.

Despite an overall increase in the number of black male college graduates, over the past three decades, the number of black male applicants to medical school has dropped to 1,337 in 2014 from 1,410 in 1978.

The AAMC sought to understand the decline in black males applying and matriculating to medical school by gathering the perspectives of 11 black premedical students, physicians, researchers, and leaders. The interviews explored factors that may contribute to low application rates, experiences along the career pathway, and the role of academic medicine in altering the course.

This report captures the major themes from the interviews and highlights research and data from various sources to build the narrative to understand these trends and find broad-based solutions to alter the trends for black men.
Interviewees discussed:  
  • Personal and external factors that contribute to success in becoming a physician
  • Factors in the early grades  in the public education system that may adversely affect young black boys
  • The role of community members in having either positive or negative influence on career exploration and decisions
  • Public perceptions and images of black men, including negative media portrayals and lower expectations, that may adversely influence their educational and career progress
  • Four major areas in which academic medicine may influence current trends for black males
  • And more.
With the predicted physician shortage of between 46,000 and 90,000 physicians by the year 2025, and the changing demographics of the patient population, it’s even more critical to provide greater access to care for a more diverse patient population.

The hope is that this report will prompt leaders in academic medicine to redouble their efforts to improve opportunities for minorities, with specific attention to black males. They may rethink and renew their existing initiatives, including reviewing and updating current admissions policies and practices, thinking creatively about formal and informal efforts to engage black men and their communities, and conducting community outreach, and more.