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Association of American Medical Colleges Tomorrow's Doctors, Tomorrow's Cures®

Underrepresented in Medicine Definition

On March 19, 2004, the AAMC Executive Committee adopted a clarification to its definition of "underrepresented in medicine" following the Supreme Court's decision in Grutter.

The AAMC definition of underrepresented in medicine is:

"Underrepresented in medicine means those racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the medical profession relative to their numbers in the general population."

Adopted by the AAMC's Executive Council on June 26, 2003, the definition helps medical schools accomplish three important objectives:

  • a shift in focus from a fixed aggregation of four racial and ethnic groups to a continually evolving underlying reality. The definition accommodates including and removing underrepresented groups on the basis of changing demographics of society and the profession,
  • a shift in focus from a national perspective to a regional or local perspective on underrepresentation, and
  • stimulate data collection and reporting on the broad range of racial and ethnic self-descriptions.

Before June 26, 2003, the AAMC used the term "underrepresented minority (URM)," which consisted of Blacks, Mexican-Americans, Native Americans (that is, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians), and mainland Puerto Ricans. The AAMC remains committed to ensuring access to medical education and medicine-related careers for individuals from these four historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups.


Contact Us

For more information on the status and use of the definition, please email us at urm@aamc.org.


Medical Education Initiatives

The AAMC's vision is to lead innovation along the continuum of medical education to meet the health needs of the public.