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How Do We Retain Minority Health Professions Students?
Pages 328-360

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From page 328...
... THE CHALLENGE In 1999, 4,181 underrepresented minority students applied to 126 allopathic medical schools. A total of 2,041 (49%)
From page 329...
... Why are URM medical students three times more likely to experience academic problems that result in changes in academic status and delayed graduation than their non-minority classmates? Either URM students are not as well prepared as non-minority students to succeed in medical school or medical schools do not provide a learning environment conducive to the success of URM students.
From page 330...
... This highly promoted initiative highlighted a renewed interest on the part of the AAMC and the medical schools to increase the number of medical students from historically underrepresented minority groups Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native. At the time Project 3000 by 2000 was announced in 1991, the total number of first-time URM applicants to medical school was 2,854 and 1,584 of these URM applicants joined the 1991-1992 class of medical students.
From page 331...
... In summary, starting in the 1960s the AAMC and most medical schools began serious efforts to increase the number of enrolled medical students from historically underrepresented minority groups. In 1960, black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native students represented 1% of the graduating seniors.
From page 332...
... Clearly, much more work needs to be done to expand the draw, flow, and output of the pipeline, both in terms of the quantity and quality of URM applicants applying to medical schools. But this is only part of the equation.
From page 333...
... A, 'e · 'e · no .~ I, A ch o o · cn a, Id o so ~ Al ˘ Em Ad c)
From page 334...
... medical students.
From page 335...
... students graduated in more than four years without documented reasons. In general, we see that URM students were 97°/O more likely than were their counterparts in the referent group to experience academic difficulty, controlling for the effects of all other variables.
From page 336...
... Based on my 30 plus years of experience in medical education I am adm~ttedly jaded about the veracity of medical student transcripts and the quality of the information which schools corurnunicate to the AAMC. Especially when it concerns minority students.
From page 337...
... It is the medical school admissions committee, the gatekeeper to the medical profession, that plays the major role in increasing the number of minority students enrolled in medical schools. Unfortunately, deanships of U.S.
From page 338...
... . Minority Students in Medical Education: Facts and Figures XI, 1998.
From page 339...
... Many medical schools, seeking out the most academically qualified URM applicants, typically offered acceptances to the same subset of the entire URM applicant pool. Many schools were not willing to give strong consideration to URM students with lower academic credentials.
From page 340...
... I believe that there are additional factors, discoverable as part of the admissions process, that are predictive of success in medical school. These include the students' knowledge of their own most efficient and effective learning strategies, willingness to try new ways of learning, appropriate use of learning strategies, openness to seek out help, appropriate use of time management skills, feelings of being "impostor" medical students, family support, adequate f~nancial support, lack of role models and mentors, and inability to cope with stress and failures.
From page 341...
... As anyone who has served as a member of an admissions committee knows, selecting successful medical students is more an art form, less a science. The selection of URM students most likely to succeed is compounded by the problem that medical school admissions committees typically have few URM faculty members.
From page 342...
... The first semester of the first year at most medical schools consists of a gross anatomy course and a biochemistry andlor molecular biology course, plus perhaps one or two smaller courses. There is a "boot camp" mentality operative during the first several months of medical school.
From page 343...
... Typically medical students have little input into faculty promotion and tenure decisions. They either are not asked or their comments are given little or no consideration.
From page 344...
... A URM student who suspects a problem may also choose not to submit to testing because she lacks the funds to pay for it. She may also be reluctant to be labeled as "disabled." Most medical schools conduct an orientation program prior to the official start of the first year.
From page 345...
... The money "lost" on scholarships and financial aid given to students who do not graduate and default on loans would more than pay for the cost of providing more support services for students in academic difficulty. A study recently published by the AAMC and the Milbank Memorial Fund takes a close look at curricular change at 10 medical schools.
From page 346...
... Medical schools and associated research and clinical facilities are expensive to operate. Tuition pays only a fraction of the total cost of medical education.
From page 347...
... The absence of URM faculty decreases the chances that a URM student can find a faculty mentor, someone who has "walked the same path" and can serve as a guide. The increasing diversity of medical school classes will, in the next 10 to 20 years, begin to diversify the predominately white male faculty of medical schools, especially the clinical faculty.
From page 348...
... I found no resource that provides data on learning assistance specialists at medical schools or that specifies that they are readily available to medical students on the university's main campus. I suspect that most were initially hired because of problems that minority students were encountering.
From page 349...
... It has been my experience that URM students, like most medical students, are reluctant to ask for help. The students, when asked, are aware of the services available, but are less likely than non-minority students to make appointments or to respond to offers of assistance.
From page 350...
... If a medical student fails a first-year course, there is typically a six- to eight-week break between the first and second years which the student can use to study and take a remedial exam or take a summer course at one of a dozen medical schools which offer remedial courses. After the second year there is usually a monk before the junior year starts and at most medical schools, students are encouraged or required to take the Step 1 exam before they start clinical rotations.
From page 351...
... In the absence of health or personal problems that require the student to leave campus, I would strongly support remedial strategies that would keep the student in an academic environment. Often there are untapped resources in the form of medical students in M.D./Ph.D.
From page 352...
... This information should also be provided to the admissions dean and the admissions corurnittee. It has been my experience, at several medical schools, that in some firstsemester courses the content "ramp" is too steep.
From page 353...
... Most academic problems begin in the first semester of the first year and are not resolved, causing delays in graduation or a failure to graduate. Admissions committees need to continue to look beyond grades and MCAT scores for indicators of academic success among URM applicants, and the faculty need to take a close look at elements of Me medical school curriculum, especially the first semester, which may be causing avoidable academic failures.
From page 354...
... 3. Medical schools should get more directly involved in their own URM pipeline which would involve increasing the numbers of URM students on campus prior to the start of the admissions process.
From page 355...
... Increase available financial aid funds for URM students and guarantee support for a minimum of five years. Find creative ways to encourage URM students to seek help when they encounter academic or personal problems.
From page 356...
... (19993. Educating medical students: Assessing change in medical educationThe road to implementation.
From page 357...
... A study of the 1992 matriculants to U.S. medical schools.
From page 358...
... She earned a 3.0 GPA overall, 3.1 in BCPM, and 7s on the MCAT. She was accepted by two medical schools, and chose this medical school because a classmate from State was also accepted.
From page 359...
... According to academic policy, failure of a second course results in a "invitation" to meet with the academic standing committee. She explained to the committee that she did not have a strong science background, that she is not strong in memorization, and that she was preoccupied by her mother's continuing health problems.


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