Widening access to medicine for “under-represented” groups
Defining “under represented” is far from straightforward
- By: Chris McManus
- Published: 29 May 2012
- DOI: 10.1136/sbmj.e3407
- Cite this as: Student BMJ 2012;20:e3407
Diversity matters in universities. As in natural ecosystems, variation and interactions underpin innovation and resilience. As Robert J Sternberg says, “Without diversity, the intellectual life of a [university] campus is constricted. People may come to believe that their own point of view is the only sensible one, or even the only one.”1 Different medical schools can produce graduates with different outlooks,2 but creating effective diversity is difficult.
Widening participation, according to the Higher Education Funding Council for England, means that “people with the potential to benefit from successful participation in higher education should have the opportunity to do so,” which “is vital to creating a fairer society, improving social mobility, and supporting economic growth.”3 Student diversity, however, which relates to access and participation, inevitably depends upon which applicants are selected—although obviously selectors can choose from those who apply. Nor does diversity among entrants always result in diversity of interaction, as