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Adv Med Educ Pract. 2018 Jan 19;9:53-61. doi: 10.2147/AMEP.S147950. eCollection 2018.

Levers of change: a review of contemporary interventions to enhance diversity in medical schools in the USA.

Author information

1
College of Medicine and Life Sciences.
2
Department of Internal Medicine.
3
Department of Family Medicine, College of Medicine and Life Science, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH.
4
Consultant, The Ethnic Health Institute, Oakland, CA.
5
Department of Surgery, College of Medicine and Life Sciences, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH, USA.

Abstract

A growing body of research illustrates the importance of aligning efforts across the operational continuum to achieve diversity goals. This alignment begins with the institutional mission and the message it conveys about the priorities of the institution to potential applicants, community, staff, and faculty. The traditional themes of education, research, and service dominate most medical school mission statements. The emerging themes of physician maldistribution, overall primary-care physician shortage, diversity, and cost control are cited less frequently. The importance and salience of having administrative leaders with an explicit commitment to workforce and student diversity is a prominent and pivotal factor in the medical literature on the subject. Organizational leadership shapes the general work climate and expectations concerning diversity, recruitment, and retention. Following the Bakke decision, individual medical schools, supported by the Association of American Medical Colleges, worked to expand the frame of reference for evaluating applicants for medical school. These efforts have come together under the rubric of "holistic review", permitted by the US Supreme Court in 2003. A large diverse-applicant pool is needed to ensure the appropriate candidates can be chosen for the incoming medical school class. Understanding the optimal rationale and components for a successful recruitment program is important. Benchmarking with other schools regionally and nationally will identify what should be the relative size of a pool. Diversity is of compelling interest to us all, and should pervade all aspects of higher education, including admissions, the curriculum, student services and activities, and our faculties. The aim of medical education is to cultivate a workforce with the perspectives, aptitudes, and skills needed to fuel community-responsive health-care institutions. A commitment toward diversity needs to be made.

KEYWORDS:

admissions committee; diversity; inclusion; medical school admissions

Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.

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