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AAMC Mailing Lists

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AAMC mailing lists are available for sharing valuable information and resources with our member institutions and constituents.

GSA Committee on Admissions (GSA-COA)

February 2016

All GSA national committees are advisory to the GSA Steering Committee and to the AAMC. The COA receives and responds to information, requests, concerns and issues relating to medical school application and admission. The COA works closely with the GSA and other AAMC and external constituents in reviewing and deliberating on admissions issues referred to it. The COA works in collaboration with AMCAS, MCAT on a regular basis and with other AAMC services as needed. The COA may also be called upon to comment on, and make recommendations about, planned and ongoing AAMC projects, programs or services that relate to medical school application and admission.

Recent Updates:

Admissions Research Interests
GSA-COA along with GSA-COSDA have expressed interest in admissions research to get a better understanding of “diversity within diversity” in medical school. The Committees discussed possible distinctions with broad racial/ethnic categories. In light of the AAMC’s publication on the declination of black males in medicine and the ongoing conversations within the GSA, the Committee met with the Association’s Data Operations and Services Team to further delve into the details of diversity in medical school admissions in hopes of being able to provide more resources, tools and information for the admissions community.

Clinical Shadowing
For the last year, the issue of clinical shadowing has been of major concern to admissions officers, premedical advisors, and students. Opportunities for shadowing are dwindling or becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. Expensive international programs are capitalizing on student demand for opportunities often resulting in increased debt or alienation of disadvantaged students and even promoting unethical medical practices by having students perform services for which they are unqualified. In order to address the issue comprehensively, COA must be armed with a better sense of the schools’ perspective. In which case, the Committee has created a brief survey of medical school admissions offices to better understand these complex issues.

The Committee has provided guidelines for students concerning these experiences at home and abroad.

Admissions Webinars
The Committee on Student Financial Assistance partnered with COA on the development of a webinar that would discuss how to utilize the SES indicators in AMCAS more effectively along with lifetime Pell grant utilization to identify the neediest students as well as how to maximize communication between the two offices at each institution. With the success of this webinar, the Committee discussed the possibility in hosting webinars on other admissions related topics. On topic that arose with confidence was that of clinical shadowing, and the complexities surrounding this growing concern.

Resources for New Schools
As the number of LCME accredited medical schools continues to grow, so does the need for resources. There is a section dedicated to new admission officers in the GSA Member Handbook, but we are exploring the idea of creating a New Medical Schools section on the lifecycle graphic where we can link the most important admission-related resources for new medical school admissions offices.

AMCAS and MCAT Updates
The Committee met with AMCAS and MCAT to discuss recent updates, data, and improvements for both of these services. The Committee has provided several resources and tools through the Admissions Lifecycle for those who are interested.

Fisher vs. The University of Texas
The AAMC believes that “Diversity is a critical component of excellence in education, clinical care, and research in the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals. Using a holistic consideration of each applicant’s background and experiences, medical schools are working toward a more culturally competent physician workforce that can meet the health needs of an increasingly diverse nation.” You can access the Association’s brief to the Supreme Court for Fisher v. UT-Austin II here. The Committee discussed possible outcomes and impacts on medical school admission across the nation

Situational Judgment Test
An SJT is a standardized test that presents a series of hypothetical scenarios and asks examinees how they would respond or behave in that situation. The scenarios are presented through a variety of formats, including text, animation, or live-action video. Each scenario is based on one or more competencies, and the test taker’s responses provide insight into his/her ability within each relevant competency. The Committee met with the SJT team to discuss next steps in implementing the test for medical school admissions. More information can be found here.

If you have any questions, comments, or recommendations concerning GSA-COA, please feel free to contact me.


Aaron Parzuchowski
OSR Liaison to the GSA-COA
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Class of 2017