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Analysis in Brief

Each online issue of Analysis in Brief (AIB) tackles an academic medicine research topic, and presents a two-page, easy-to-read snapshot of the AAMC’s data collection and research activities. Topics are selected through a peer-review process and support the association’s strategic research agenda.  The reports not only present data, but also provide context on the issues, interpretation of results and trends, and discussion of the policy and practical implications of the results—all of which may help to facilitate institutional and policy improvements at medical schools and teaching hospitals.

In addition to the latest issue highlighted here, you can access the Analysis in Brief archives and download the free PDF reports.

October 2018 An Updated Look at the Economic Diversity of U.S. Medical Students

This Analysis in Brief (AIB) updates previous research comparing the economic diversity of U.S. medical school matriculants with U.S. Census data. The results demonstrate that altering the economic diversity of U.S. medical school matriculants remains a persistent challenge. When looking at matriculating medical students by quintile of household income, for students entering medical school in the 30-year span from 1988 through 2017, the top two household-income quintiles contributed between 73% and 79% of all matriculants each year. Results also show that less than 5% of all matriculants who provided parental income data in the 2017 MSQ were in the lowest household-income quintile, whereas 24% were in the top 5%. U.S. medical schools have almost always relied on applicants with bachelor’s degrees from colleges and universities, whose attendees are not evenly distributed across income levels, so the pool of medical school applicants has not been evenly distributed across income levels. The harsh reality of these data underscores the vast challenge medical schools face if they attempt to change the mix of matriculants by household income. Overcoming the challenge of unequal college attendance by income level requires a blend of innovative approaches.