US medical schools should consider race in admitting students
- By: Janice Hopkins Tanne
Medical schools should continue to consider race when admitting students despite recent US court decisions against “affirmative action” (positive discrimination), said Dr Jordan Cohen, president of the Association of American Medical Colleges, which represents all 125 medical schools in the United States.
Affirmative action benefits the profession and patients and is particularly timely because of efforts to make it unlawful to consider race when making admissions decisions, he wrote in an article in Health Affairs (2002;21:90-102).
A more diverse medical profession would improve cultural competency (understanding the beliefs and language of patients), increase patients' access to good health services (as doctors from minority ethnic groups often choose to practise in their own communities), strengthen medical research (addressing health issues important to minority communities), and improve diversity in health managers (executives and policy makers).
Among the under-represented minority ethnic groups in US medical schools are African-Americans, Native Americans, Mexican Americans, and