The number of Black, Hispanic, and women applicants and enrollees continued to increase at U.S. medical schools in the 2022-23 academic year, according to data released today by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges).
This year, the number of medical school applicants returned to pre-pandemic levels, after the 2021-2022 academic year data revealed a record-setting and atypical 18% increase of medical school applicants during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to this unprecedented increase during the onset of the public health crisis, the AAMC compared data from the 2022-23 academic year with the 2020-21 academic year for this annual data release. Using this comparison, the data shows that total enrollment grew by 3%. Specifically, the number of students applying to medical school increased by 4% from 2020-21 to 2022-23, and the number of first-year enrollees (matriculants) was up 2% from 2020-21.
“The AAMC has seen a steady increase in applications and enrollments over the last several years as students considering a career in medicine continue to answer the call to service,” said David J. Skorton, MD, AAMC president and CEO.
Diversity of enrollees
The new data shows that the nation’s medical schools continue to attract and enroll more diverse classes:
- Race and ethnicity:
- The number of Black or African American matriculants increased by 9%. Black or African American students made up 10% of matriculants in 2022-23, up from 9.5% in 2020-21. First-year Black or African American men increased by 5%.
- Matriculants who are Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin increased by 4%. Individuals from this group made up 12% of total matriculants.
- American Indian or Alaska Native matriculants declined by 9%, comprising 1% of matriculants.
- Women continued to make gains in 2022-23, making up 57% of applicants, 56% of matriculants, and 54% of total enrollment. This is the fourth year in a row that women made up the majority of these three groups.
- 2022-23 was the first time in seven years that the number of men matriculants did not decline.
- Additional facts about the 2022-23 entering class:
- As in previous years, medical school matriculants in 2022-23 had strong academic credentials, with a median undergraduate GPA of 3.82, even higher than previous years.
- Matriculants ranged in age from 17 to 53 years old, including 677 people over age 30.
- 154 matriculants were military veterans, a decline from 168 veterans in 2020-21.
- This year’s entering class demonstrated an even greater commitment to service. The entering class cumulatively performed over 15 million community service hours, an average of nearly 675 hours per student.
- The data shows increased diversity in the socioeconomic status of matriculants, applicants, and acceptees. Matriculants with a parent whose highest level of education was less than a bachelor’s degree or any degree with an occupation categorized as “service, clerical, skilled, and unskilled” increased from 21% in 2020-21 to 22% in 2022-23.
“The increases in first-year enrollees from historically underrepresented groups reflect the efforts of the nation’s medical schools to increase diversity and further address the nation’s public health needs,” said Geoffrey Young, PhD, AAMC senior director, transforming the health care workforce. “The AAMC is focused on diversifying the physician workforce, including American Indian and Alaska Native students, to ensure the next generation of physicians reflects the communities they serve.”
The AAMC is actively involved in advancing efforts to address the shortage of Native American health care professionals and the educational barriers that Indigenous students face entering medicine, including serving as a co-host for the American Indian and Alaska Native Healthcare Workforce Development Summit earlier this year.
“We know that more diversity in the physician workforce builds trust and enhances the physician-patient relationship, translating into better health outcomes,” said Skorton. “The AAMC and our member medical schools are committed to increasing the number of both applicants and matriculants from historically underrepresented groups.”
Note to editors:
The race and ethnicity data includes individuals who identified in one or more race/ethnicity categories. For example, “Black or African American” includes individuals who identified only as Black or African American, as well as those who identified as Black or African American and at least one other race/ethnicity category.