Medical Schools See Record Number Of Black And Latino Applicants

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) says there’s a “all-time high” in applications, and a noticeable rise in applications from Black and Latino students. 

Though a direct cause hasn’t been found, many experts believe the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing fight against social injustice played a major role in getting more Black and Latino students applying to schools to become doctors. 

“I think we can look at our society and what’s happening on the news day-to-day in terms of not only the COVID-19 crisis and how it’s disproportionately impacting communities of color, but also thinking about the recent social protests and really greater awareness around anti-racism and the importance of really looking at systems change, and that’s true for medicine as well,” Dr. Norma Poll-Hunter, Senior Director of the Workforce Diversity Portfolio at AAMC told NBC 5 DFW

The coronavirus pandemic has devastatingly impacted Black and Latino communities in the US, which prompted President Joe Biden’s administration to include healthcare equity in its COVID-19 Task Force. 

Before the pandemic, however, there was clear evidence of healthcare inequity promoted by institutionalized racism, and individual implicit bias, leaving adequate, culturally competent healthcare largely out of reach for Black and Latino communities. 

Diversifying who practices medicine is a strategy to get people access to better care. 

“I think that now there’s more of a call to action across our nation, about really looking at the disparities in healthcare and how individuals who come from Latino, American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Black communities really make a difference in terms of patient care,” Poll-Hunter said. 

Though medical schools can only admit a certain number into each class, increasing the number of Black and Latino candidates who apply could mean an increase in diversity in these classes overall, and more representation in healthcare facilities in the long run. 

Photo: Getty Images 

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