The student bodies at U.S. medical schools are growing more ethnically diverse, as the number of Black and Hispanic students continued increasing in the academic year that began this fall, according to data released today by the AAMC.
After a record-setting 17.8% increase in medical school applicants early in the COVID-19 pandemic, applicants and first-year enrollees for the 2022-23 school year generally reverted to levels seen before the pandemic, with slight increases in several areas.
“Students considering a career in medicine continue to answer the call to service,” said David J. Skorton, MD, AAMC president and CEO.
The data show that the share of applicants and matriculants (students entering medical school) from several traditionally underrepresented groups rose from pre-pandemic levels.
“The increases in first-year enrollees from historically underrepresented groups reflect the efforts of the nation’s medical schools to increase diversity,” said Geoffrey Young, PhD, AAMC senior director for transforming health care workforce.
Other highlights from the data:
Applications and enrollments resume slow growth
- Applicants to medical school in 2022-23 numbered 55,188 — 11.6% fewer than in 2021-22 but 4.1% more than in 2020-21.
- A total of 22,712 students enrolled in medical school in 2022-23, about the same as in 2021-22 and 2.1% more than in 2020-21.
- Overall medical school enrollment reached 96,520, a 17.8% increase since 2012.
Race and ethnicity continue to diversify
The numbers of applicants and matriculants who self-identified among several underrepresented groups in medicine increased compared with numbers from 2020-21.
- Black or African American: Applicants increased by 14% and matriculants increased by 9% (to 2,308).
- That brought overall enrollment of Black or African American students to a record 9,630.
- Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin: Applicants increased by 7.3% and matriculants increased by 4% (to 2,784).
- That brought overall enrollment of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin students to a record 11,631.
- Asian: Applicants increased by 13.3% and matriculants increased by 17.7% (to 6,525).
- White: Applicants increased by 2.1% and matriculants declined by 0.62% (to 11,800).
- American Indian or Alaska Native: Applicants remained about the same and matriculants declined by 9.3% (to 225).
The AAMC said it is working with medical schools to address the shortage of Native health care workers and the educational barriers that Indigenous students face entering medicine. “We know that more diversity in the physician workforce builds trust and enhances the physician-patient relationship, translating into better health outcomes,” Skorton said.
Most first-year med students are women
Women again accounted for the majority of applicants (56.5%), matriculants (55.6%), and total enrollment (53.8%) — the fourth consecutive year that women made up the majority of all three groups.
- The number of men matriculants (10,062) remained unchanged since last year — the first time in seven years that the number did not decline.
- Women continue applying to medical school far more than men do. The totals for 2022-23:
- Women: 31,190. That has increased in all but two years since 2012.
- Men: 23,924. That has decreased every year but one since 2016.
First-year students’ grades and service commitments are high
- The median undergraduate GPA was 3.82.
- Matriculants ranged in age from 17 to 53, with 677 of them over 30 years old.
- The entering class cumulatively performed over 15 million community service hours, an average of nearly 675 hours per student.