Dr. Betty Mkwinda-Nyasulu, PhD; Dr. Ian L Hudson, D.O.
Introduction: Longstanding disparities in medical education persist today and lead to barriers to optimal medical training and care delivery. Toward the improvement of medical education, and ultimately to the benefit of underserved communities, a broad conception of obstacles prohibiting the involvement, training, and serving of minority populations will allow insight and effective mitigation strategies.
Method: This is a narrative review utilizing leading peer-reviewed research findings and analysis. References of high-yield publications are examined for added depth and clarity to develop a comprehensive, balanced understanding of factors contributing to known disparities in admissions. Recommendations are proposed based on root-cause analysis of identified factors.
Results: The issue of known disparity in healthcare admission is multifactorial. At the same time, there is reported bias against minority applicants/students characteristics, focusing on admissions criteria and training climate does not incorporate a holistic understanding of the conditions leading to disparities. Measures to address matriculation representation concern themselves with those present, while not addressing earlier, more fundamental issues causing potentially talented candidates to preclude themselves from development and consideration during grade-school education. Developing qualified, motivated applicants via targeted interventions overcoming institutional and cultural adversity would serve as a positive feedback loop. Successful professionals from diverse backgrounds would normalize achievement, develop other young talents through mentorship, and gain additional influence in education and admissions.
Conclusion: A multidisciplinary decision-making approach to medical education disparity will likely be necessary to achieve progress toward an eventual steady-state closer to population proportions of various cultural/ethnic groups. Interventions to foster and encourage attainability of professional goals will allow more significant numbers of highly qualified applicants from diverse backgrounds to health care fields.
Logan LT. Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Bias in Healthcare. Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science. 2022; 4(2).
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