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Numbers of Black Men in Medical School Dwindling at Alarming Rate

black-doctor-signs-you-were-raised-africanThe higher you go on the rungs of the education ladder the fewer Black men you will find. Medical school is no exception.

In recent years the number of Black men in medical programs has dwindled. Experts say it’s because they don’t seem to even be on the track to apply.

“Even during my collegiate career, I was a biology major with a minor in chemistry, and I didn’t see many other African American males on the premed route,”  said Dr. Frank A Clark in an article in the American Medical News. 

As other men of color rise in this arena, Black males are dropping off. According to the most recent Association of American Medical Colleges report, only 2.5 percent of medical school applicants were Black men in 2011, which was a drop from 2.6 percent nearly a decade earlier in 2002. Over the same period, Asian men increased 9 percent and Hispanic men 11 percent.

The New England Journal of Medicine published an article documenting that the number of Black medical school graduates was 760 (5.1 percent of all graduates) in 1978 and, while it rose to 1,192 in 1997 (7.5 percent), there was a relative decrease to 1,227 (6.9 percent) by 2012 as the numbers of all graduates increased.

So what can be done to combat an already bleak situation?

The AAMC report concluded that the lack of Black male representation called for a need for medical schools to try to make their student bodies reflect the American population by instituting “plans and initiatives aimed at strengthening the pipeline.”

“We have a major problem in this country,” said Marc Nivet, EdD, the AAMC’s chief diversity officer. “There is just simply an enormous amount of indisputable evidence that we’re not intervening as effectively as we’d like as a society to increase the talent pool of African Americans who are capable of the science curricula available up and down the pipeline.”

 

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