Why It Matters That Fewer Black Men Are Applying To Medical School

Over the past 37 years, medical schools have had more diverse applicants, except for when it comes to one demographic: black men. In 1978, 1,410 black males applied to medical school, but by 2014, that number dropped to 1,337, according to a new report by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

In fact, black men made up the smallest group of medical school applicants compared to all other demographics — even black women. The share of Asian and Hispanic male applicants, by comparison, is growing.

The report suggests several causes for the decline, from admission policy changes to more qualitative factors, including racial bias and lack of mentors, which might discourage young black men from entering the field.

After analyzing the stats around black men and medical school, the AAMC conducted interviews with 11 black premedical students, physicians, researchers and leaders. They described the barriers some black men face when deciding to pursue medicine, discussing how they confronted — and overcame — structural and cultural obstacles to entering the medical field.

Here’s the advice culled from the recent AAMC report:

1. Build a support network.

The interviewees stressed how important mentors, peer support and study groups were to their success. Studies suggest that young black men who want to be doctors may not have people who can guide them into medical school.

“I certainly wouldn’t be in the position that I’m in if it wasn’t for mentors at every step of the way,”Alden M. Landry, MD, MPH, an emergency medicine physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said.

These people can not only give you advice, but they also might be able to get you a job one day.

“I think it’s critical that they reach out and ask for help,” M. Roy Wilson, MD, MS, —> Read More