Medical school minority applicants on the rise in 2012

Minority enrollment into medical school is increasing, says a report from the Association of American Medical Colleges. While the study indicates Native Americans and Alaska Natives had the greatest increase in numbers, Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks also enrolled in record numbers in the last years, reports the National Journal.

“Growing up in an isolated reservation in Alaska, going to medical school was a big shock, especially culturally,” David Baines, a physician and member of the Tlingit and Tsimshian tribes, told the Native American Times. “I was very isolated as the first and only American Indian or Alaska Native student at Mayo Medical School.”

Baines’s story is not unique but may become less commonplace as minority student enrollment continues to increase.

Medical school applications and enrollment

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges report:

  • Native Americans and Native Alaskans had the greatest medical school enrollment increase in the last seven years.  (Shutterstock photo)
  • There were 3,701 Hispanic medical school applicants in 2012, a 7 percent increase from the year before.
  • There were 3,824 non-Hispanic black medical school applications in 2012, a 5.1 percent increase.
  • There were 28,016 non-Hispanic white medical school applications in 2012, a 2.4 percent increase.
  • There were 10,542 Asian medical school applicants in 2012, a 5.6 percent increase.
  • Foreign total medical school applications increased 4 percent at 1,713 in 2012.
  • 430 Native Indians and Native Alaskans, an 11.9 percent increase, applied to medical school in 2012.
  • There were 171 Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders  applicants to medical school in 2012 , an 8.2 percent increase.

In terms to actual enrollment, the report shows:

  • 1,730 Hispanics enrolled in medical school in 2012, compared to 1,272 in 2005.
  • 1,416 non-Hispanic blacks enrolled in medical school in 2012, compared to 1,240 i 2005.
  • 12,773 non-Hispanic whites enrolled in medical school in 2012, compared to 11,710 in 2005.
  • 184 American Indian and Alaska Native students enrolled in medical school in 2012, compared to 191 in 2005, showing the only decrease. However, in 2011, only 157 American Indian and Alaska Native students enrolled in medical school.

Not only have medical school enrollment numbers increased overall, the reports notes first-time medical school applications have also increased. More than 45,000 first-time medical school applications were received for the 2012-2013 school year, a 3.1 percent increase, though first-time applicant interest increased by 3.4 percent.

Despite the increase in interest rates and enrollment costs for medical school, the Association of American Medical Colleges expects the physician shortage to near 90,000 within the next ten years, and the doctor shortage may increase as provisions from the Affordable Care Act go into place, granting millions more United States residents increased health coverage.

“We have a shortage of every kind of doctor, except for plastic surgeons and dermatologists,” said to the New York Times Dr. G. Richard Olds, the dean of the new medical school at the University of California, Riverside. “We’ll have a 5,000-physician shortage in 10 years, no matter what anybody does.”

Despite the increase in interest rates and enrollment costs for medical school, the Association of American Medical Colleges expects the physician shortage to near 90,000 within the next ten years, and the doctor shortage may increase as provisions from the Affordable Care Act go into place, granting millions more United States residents increased health coverage. (Shutterstock photo)

Hispanic doctor shortage

As a whole the Hispanic population is classified as underserved, meaning there are typically more than 2,000 people per doctor in Hispanic communities in the U.S.

Medical school financing is out of reach for many Hispanics, with overall debt soaring to upwards of $150,000, and many of those who wish to enter the medical field lack a proper former education. Family support also plays a role, as low-income families tend to steer children toward educations that do not require a lot of debt.

Those who do become doctors rarely select the hands-on community medical field where they are most needed, opting instead for high-paying technical or surgical jobs, an issue that affects patients seeking medical care from a doctor of similar ethnicity. This commonality instills a feeling of trust the physician will understand that individual’s specific needs.

Shortage of Hispanic doctors does not only affect other Hispanics. There are many places in the United States that do not meet the necessary doctor/patient quota. More doctors in general are needed – especially those willing and prepared to do community service.
Read at Voxxi website: http://www.voxxi.com/medical-school-minority-applicants/#ixzz2Azn9pEAc

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One Response to Medical school minority applicants on the rise in 2012

  1. Kevin says:

    These stories come to me from various sources, but Indian Country Today is a good resource to begin with.

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