The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) recently announced that the number of minorities who enrolled in medical schools has grown – especially among Hispanic males.
Enrollment among white students increased by 1.5% from 2009 to 2010. Meanwhile, total enrollment for male Hispanic students grew more than 17%, and Hispanic female enrollees increased by 1.6%.
The total number of Latinos and Latinas who started medical school in 2010 was 1,539, or about 8% of the total number of first-year medical school students. Hispanics make up about 16% of the U.S. population, according to 2009 U.S. Census figures.
AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch said the numbers — which reflect a national trend toward increased diversity — are good news for patients. He told The Hill, "You don't improve the health of communities without having a workforce that reflects the diversity of those communities.”
In order to increase the diversity of the physician workforce, students must be exposed to the possibility of a career in health care as early as possible.
Having a diverse physician workforce is a critical component in making health care available to those who need it most. The lack of diversity of medical students, coupled with ineffective cultural competency education, continues to produce training and treatment environments that are biased, intolerant and contributory to health disparities.
Racial and ethnic minorities comprise 26% of the total population of the United States, yet only roughly 6% of practicing physicians are Latino, African American and Native American.
For the complete AAMC report, click here
You can also download the teleconference
, where Dr. Kirch discusses 2010 medical school application data with members of the press.