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  • Press Release

    AAMC Leads Amicus Brief in Support of Consideration of Race in Higher Education Admissions

    Press Contacts

    John Buarotti, Sr. Public Relations Specialist

    The AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges), along with 45 health professional and educational organizations, has submitted an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the limited consideration of an applicant’s racial or ethnic background or experiences in higher education admissions in the Students for Fair Admission v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admission v. University of North Carolina (UNC) cases before the Court this fall. The Harvard and UNC cases challenge the limited consideration of race and ethnicity in higher education admissions, the constitutionality of which has been upheld by the Supreme Court repeatedly for more than forty years.

    While the plaintiffs ask the high court to overrule longstanding Supreme Court precedent, the AAMC supports the current rule of law. The amicus brief focuses on the particular importance of racial and ethnic diversity in the health professions in classrooms, labs, and clinical settings to improve the overall health of our nation.

    “Numerous studies have consistently demonstrated health inequities along racial and ethnic lines in nearly every index of human health, and evidence shows that increased racial diversity in the health professions can help close that gap,” said David J. Skorton, MD, AAMC president and CEO. “The AAMC has long supported the limited consideration of race and ethnicity in admissions where necessary and in support of a medical school’s mission, with deference to each school’s individualized admissions process and expertise.”

    Despite laudable advancements in health care and technology, certain racial and ethnic groups continue to, on average, experience strikingly worse health outcomes than others, even when controlling for income, education, lifestyle, and access. Studies have repeatedly shown that racially and ethnically diverse health care teams produce better and more equitable outcomes for patients. Further, physicians who train and work alongside racially or ethnically diverse peers have higher cultural competence. This means doctors are more familiar with the connection between socio-cultural factors and health and are better able to help eliminate socio-cultural barriers to care and avoid stereotypes about patients from different backgrounds. In short, training and working alongside people with diverse backgrounds can increase familiarity with different cultures and challenge assumptions, improving effective patient-physician communication and health outcomes.

    The amicus brief emphasizes the ongoing underrepresentation of certain racial and ethnic groups in medicine. If the current law is overturned, a ban on the consideration of race or ethnicity in applications for institutions of higher learning will immediately and dramatically reduce enrollment of racial and ethnic minorities, as demonstrated by longitudinal studies of schools in states with local bans on the consideration of race. A change in the legal framework would result in a decrease in racial and ethnic diversity in the health professions, with ultimate negative impacts to patient care.

    So often, an applicant’s racial and ethnic backgrounds are inextricably linked to their identity, experience, and possibly even career choice. All applicants deserve to be able to apply to an institution of higher education in a way that reflects their full personal history.

    “Medical schools have a long history of considering more than an applicant’s GPA and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score, and in making admissions decisions in recognition of the broader set of competencies that are required to practice medicine,” said Geoffrey Young, PhD, AAMC senior director, transforming the health care workforce. “Medical schools – not judges – are in the best position to select the best future physicians.”

    The AAMC is grateful and honored to partner in this amicus brief with the following health professional and educational organizations, all of whom have recognized the critical importance of racial and ethnic diversity and inclusion in health care: 

    The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education
    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
    American Academy of Family Physicians
    American Academy of Pediatrics
    American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
    American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry
    American Association of Colleges of Nursing
    American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

    American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
    American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine
    American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training
    American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges
    American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
    American College of Physicians
    American College of Psychiatrists
    American Dental Education Association
    American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
    American Medical Association
    American Medical Student Association
    American Pediatric Society
    American Psychiatric Association
    American Public Health Association
    American Society of Hematology
    American Society of Hispanic Psychiatry
    Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association
    Associated Medical Schools of New York
    Association of American Indian Physicians
    Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions
    Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
    Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health
    Association of University Programs in Health Administration
    Association of Women Psychiatrists
    Black Psychiatrists of America, Inc.
    Council of Medical Specialty Societies
    Council on Social Work Education
    Latino Medical Student Association
    National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association
    National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians
    National Hispanic Medical Association
    National Medical Association
    National Medical Fellowships, Inc.
    Philippine Psychiatrists in America
    Physician Assistant Education Association
    Society for Pediatric Research
    Student National Medical Association

    The AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) is a nonprofit association dedicated to improving the health of people everywhere through medical education, health care, medical research, and community collaborations. Its members are all 158 U.S. medical schools accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education; 13 accredited Canadian medical schools; approximately 400 academic health systems and teaching hospitals, including Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 70 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC leads and serves America’s medical schools, academic health systems and teaching hospitals, and the millions of individuals across academic medicine, including more than 193,000 full-time faculty members, 96,000 medical students, 153,000 resident physicians, and 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences. Following a 2022 merger, the Alliance of Academic Health Centers and the Alliance of Academic Health Centers International broadened participation in the AAMC by U.S. and international academic health centers.