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Action Plan 4: Increase Significantly the Number of Diverse Medical School Applicants and Matriculants

Geoffrey Young, PhD; Mark Bedell, EdD; and Misty Huacuja-LaPointe, MEd, describe how the AAMC is working on three focus areas to increase the number of diverse medical school applicants and matriculants.

The academic medicine community has made minimal progress in increasing the number of physicians from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

In particular, we must design bolder interventions to address the paucity of Black men and the invisibility of American Indians and Alaska Natives in medical school and the physician workforce. In this action plan, the AAMC will take a multitiered approach to significantly increase the diversity of medical students.

Where we are now

We’ve organized our efforts to systemically and strategically increase the number of Black, African American, American Indian and Alaska Native, and first-generation applicants and matriculants through three areas of focus:

  • Leveraging data for change. We’re collecting, analyzing, and applying AAMC and external data to support system-based solutions and address inequities.

  • Widening the pathway to medicine and other health professions. We’re working with a range of collaborators to identify, support, and disseminate effective interventions, opportunities, and resources for learners across the premedical educational continuum.

  • Addressing culture and climate for equity. We’re providing member medical schools with tools to assess institutional climate and culture, creating a framework for supporting mental health and well-being of medical students, and promoting equitable student-centered student affairs practices and learning environments.

What happens next

In the upcoming months, we’ll be working on the following initiatives:

  • Developing metrics for tracking progress in diversifying medical school applicants and matriculants.
  • Analyzing data to provide insights into admissions processes to help admissions officers and advisors improve their diversity, equity, and inclusion work.
  • Identifying and promoting progress being made at our member medical schools.
  • Assessing outcomes of existing pathway programs.
  • Collaborating with Morehouse School of Medicine on the National Pipeline Center for Excellence to foster capacity-building for pipeline programs.
  • Collaborating with the Steve Fund to focus on minority student mental health.
  • Completing research to understand the unmet needs of learners underrepresented in medicine.

Ways to get involved

The partnership, support, and collaboration of our member institutions and constituents are integral to this work. We want to ensure our engagement leverages your expertise while recognizing the multiple priorities you are balancing in your home institutions and your national and regional groups. You can get involved by:

  • Sharing our message throughout your networks and within your sphere of influence.
  • Providing evidence to support or refute our assumptions and our understanding of the problem.
  • Leveraging your expertise in response to our work plans and strategic approaches.
  • Piloting resources, tools, and programmatic interventions in your local context.
  • Contributing your time, expertise, and influence on working on groups, committees, and special projects to advance this strategic action plan.