Friday, August 07, 2009

For Acceptance to Med School, Color Counts; A Lot

The chart above shows the acceptance rates for whites, Asians and blacks to U.S. medical schools from 2005-2007, based on different combinations of undergraduate grade point averages (GPA) and scores on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), using data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (full data available here).

In all cases above, being black significantly increases the chances of being accepted to medical school compared to being Asian or white, when all three groups of applicants have the same GPA and test scores. In some cases, e.g. having a GPA between 2.80-2.99 and an MCAT score between 27-29, being black increases the chances of being accepted by a factor of 6.35 vs. being Asian and a factor of 4.17 vs. being white.
(Note: There were not enough Hispanic applicants to include their acceptance rates in the table.)

Originally posted at Carpe Diem.


At 8/07/2009 2:36 PM, Anonymous geoih said...

Looks kind of like if you're black, all you have to do is take the test and apply, and you're in.

I'm such a racist.

At 8/07/2009 2:54 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Consider yourself lucky in the vast cultural wasteland that is Genesee County if you get yourself a doctor of any color who has been educated in the US. My friends tell me that wait hours in crowded waiting rooms to see guys who went to med school in Grenada. You left out the Hispanics, btw. Lack of interest in this group also typical of this area.

At 8/07/2009 3:17 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Flintcitylimit: There wasn't enough data for Hispanic applicants to include that group in the table.


At 8/07/2009 4:37 PM, Blogger mark.r said...

it looks like there were barely enough data to include for black applicants, too. that's why we see numbers like 100%, or 85.7% = 6/7, or 73.3% = 11/15.

still, the black acceptance rate is much higher in every row.

At 8/07/2009 4:37 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Is the takeaway that I should be nervous if a black Doctor walks in the hospital room to see me?

At 8/07/2009 4:41 PM, Blogger Devin Snead said...

Wow. That is an insane statistic.

At 8/07/2009 5:45 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Wow. That is an insane statistic"...

Not if its a Mayor Nagin think alike, then its not such an insane statistic...

At 8/07/2009 5:50 PM, Anonymous Dr. T said...

Nothing has changed in a generation. When I started med school in 1978, the people most irate about the blatant affirmative action bias were the handful of black students with very good grades and very good MCAT scores. They hated the "guilt by association" where all black medical students were considered to be minimally qualified affirmative action acceptances. The latter group had a tough time, but medical schools hate to lose students (and the federal funding they come with) and often stretched four years of medical school to six years to help them pass.

At 8/07/2009 5:58 PM, Anonymous Dr. T said...

Bill: Statistically you should be more worried about an African-American doctor, a Chinese doctor, an Australian doctor (less tough standards), and any doctor who graduated in the bottom 10% of the class (but, you'll never be able to find that info).

Americans who go to medical school in Granada or Caribbean island schools often become better doctors than their counterparts who went to US schools. The teaching is better, and the students try harder (to prove that they are as good as those who got accepted to a US school). US students who go to Mexican medical schools don't do as well, because the Mexican schools are resource poor and have too few good professors.

At 8/07/2009 9:32 PM, Anonymous Ἐγκώμιον Shill said...

You have to realize that some things go beyond economy and business. There is a human element which must be considered. There a lot of people frightened of nurses, doctors, and anybody with a needle, a knife or a water-board. Let's face it -- we have to provide doctors whom black people do not fear. We are all fallible and merely human.

When my cousin asked a black school chum to go to a large public gathering with him, chum said, "Will there be any black people there?" We have to remember these things, be more than business at times.

Not to change the subject, but look at this :

This is recovery?

At 8/07/2009 10:44 PM, Blogger Skippy said...

I too started Med School in 1978, but my experience was that while some minority students may have had preference on entry they didn't have preference on exit. If they were able to complete their studies, they were adequately trained to practice medicine.

My experience in practicing medicine for the last 20+ years is that the physicians I wouldn't trust my family to were the ones who believed they were infallible. I strongly believe that arrogance is a physicians worst enemy and those who are the most arrogant are the ones to be most avoided.

While intelligence is important, judgement is equally as important if not more so to be a good physician. The material while volumnous it is not techically complex. Other important characteristics are patience and perseverence.

By the way the brightest student in my class was Black, and I was neither.

At 8/08/2009 12:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Racial preferences have been written into Democrat health care bill:

Under the Democrats' health care bill, if a medical school wants to increase its chances of receiving many different kinds of grants and contracts from the federal government, it should have a demonstrated record of training individuals who are from underrepresented minority groups. This is because the Democrats' health care bill requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to give preference to the entities that have demonstrated such a record in the awarding of these contracts to medical schools and other institutions.

American Thinker

At 8/08/2009 1:24 AM, Blogger Dex said...

I only really care about med school graduation rates, not acceptance rates, because only graduates get to be doctors. Let's keep our eye on the ball here.

We don't have to bring up the several decades where acceptance rates for anyone other than whites were straight zeroes.

Furthermore, the article doesn't give any aggregate numbers, just the raw percentages. Did ten blacks apply to med school versus ten thousand whites? Obviously the actual numbers were somewhere in between, but discussing the percentages without qualifying them first could be a bit misleading.

At 8/08/2009 2:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this blog a joke?

All I can see is a bunch of morons who can't understand basic statistics....whining about minorities who are undoubtedly smarter than they are.

Hey, "Doctor" T? I imagine the view from up Glenn Beck's ass ain't that great, but you're the expert on that.

Why don't you pull your head out of it.

At 8/08/2009 4:19 AM, Blogger juandos said...

troll alert

"All I can see is a bunch of morons who can't understand basic statistics....whining about minorities who are undoubtedly smarter than they are"...

Is that you StethStorm?

From the British Medical Journal dated June of '01: Minorities get preferential admission to US medical schools

The Center for Equal Opportunity, a private non-profit making think-tank based in Washington, DC, has found that black and Hispanic students are being admitted to American medical schools with substantially lower college grades and test scores than white or Asian students...

From the Center For Equal Opportunity dated Oct. '99: Preferences at the University of Virginia: Racial and Ethnic Preferences in Undergraduate Admission

From the Exec Summary: Whites and Asians admitted to the University of Virginia (UVA) have roughly the same verbal SAT scores and high-school ranks. Asian admittees on average have higher math SAT scores compared to all other groups. On average, Hispanics admitted to UVA have slightly lower verbal scores and high-school ranks, and somewhat lower math scores, compared to whites and Asians. Test scores and high-school ranks for black admittees in general are much lower compared to the other groups. The gaps among racial and ethnic groups are smallest for high-school ranks...

Obviously preferential treatment isn't a new problem...

At 8/08/2009 9:14 PM, Anonymous geoih said...

Quote from dex: "I only really care about med school graduation rates, not acceptance rates, because only graduates get to be doctors. Let's keep our eye on the ball here."

I think you're missing the point. I agree that there is more than meets the eye than shown with these specific statistics, but the real issue is borne out in the comments. Blacks applying to medical school get preferential treatment over everybody else. People know it and the blacks getting into medical school, no matter how able they are, are branded with this knowledge of preferential treatment.

This is not a recipe for ending racism. It's a recipe for continuing it.

At 8/09/2009 7:18 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

About graduation rates, we can say this (assuming it takes four years to graduate from medical school):

In 2003-2004, blacks were 7.4% of all medical students, and in 2007-2008 blacks were only 6.8% of medical school graduates. For whites, the comparable percentages are 62.8% (med students in 03-04) and 64% (grads in 07-08), and for Asians the percentages were 20.3% and 20.5%. Therefore, I think we can conclude that blacks have a higher dropout rate from medical school than whites or Asians.

At 8/09/2009 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks, I think that it is quite sad that we are arguing over the 6 or 7 black students that might be in a 100 person medical class. I mean, really, would you rather that there be NO black doctors at all?? (And really there is a dearth of black MDs in this country only 3 out of every 100, 6 out of every 200, 15 out of every 500, 30 out of 1000, etc.)

The numbers for Native Americans are even worse. Most indigenous Americans do not get a chance to go to medical school until they are in their 30s.

Don't be short-sighted...

Maybe the point that we should be arguing is how can we can support our black students in testing higher and getting better grades. But I guess this would only happen on message boards that actually cared about that...

At 8/09/2009 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I was in college I once asked an orthopaedic surgeon if I could observe one of his surgeries. He said something to the effect of "I am not some kind of charity, I am actually doing real medicine here." And then he hung up the phone.

At 8/09/2009 11:22 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

About 20 years ago, I recall a conversation between a journalist and a black doctor. The doctor was asked: if your child were very ill with something you couldn't treat, and you had to choose between a white doctor and a black doctor to treat him, which would you choose?

At first, the doctor protested that he wouldn't be thinking about the race of the doctor, but when pressed he thought about it for a moment, and said:

"Well, I suppose it depends. If the doctor was my age, having graduated med school before 1965, I would go with the black doctor. To succeed in the environment we grew up in, I believe he would have had to have been much better than his white counterparts. If he were a younger doctor, graduating after 1975, I would probably go with the white guy. The young black doctor might have more empathy for my child, but that wouldn't make up for the likelihood that his test scores probably put him in the bottom 10 percent of his class. If it's my kid, that's how I would look at it."

It occurred to me then (as an idealistic, liberal young man) that the greatest victims of affirmative action may be the minorities were are trying to help.

At 8/09/2009 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are a few reasons that a high mcat/gpa score may not be good enough measures to predict quality care of black patients:

CNN investigation showing that black patients are still being treated worse by white doctors than white patients: White doctor experimented on black children in the late 80s, early 90s

Lack of understanding between white doctors and black patients

Trainee bias in healthcare

My own testimonial:

A life changing event for me occured one evening in 2000. I was doing my volunteer hours in the orthopaedic department at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fl. I was a 20 year old undergrad considering a career in sports medicine. I chose this department because it was affiliated with my school (it was on my campus) and orthopaedics was very much dependent on what I had been studying for the past three years. I had to go to the staff break room to get something (I don't remember what, it was cup or a napkin or something) when I overheard the (white)residents talking about how surprised they were that there were so many "colored" people there. As fate would have it, it was at this precise moment that I entered the room (with my unsuspecting colored self). I believe that I was in shock, and I believe that they were in shock... because I managed to retrieve whatever it was that I went in for (I think it was a cup or something) without either of us exchanging a single word.

I couldn't believe that these people who I held in such high esteem, had gone through so much work, had done so well in class that they could be ortho residents, were struggling with the fact that there were black people around? How in the world are you supposed to take good care of people when you can't even appreciate who they are?

This was when I realized that no matter how much you study, or how high of a position you may have in life, people are still people. We all bring whatever beliefs we have to the job--whether we like it or not.

There is no real separation between work and life. The world may be round, but it is no bubble. The effects of ignorance and bigotry are here to stay as long as we are continually rewarded by it.

I would like to think that my walking in that moment somehow changed these physicians for the better.

... and not just for us colored folk.


At 8/10/2009 2:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found my son in Laws experience very instructive. UCSF medical school immediately declined him. I asked a friend who is an adjunct professor at UCSF Why they would be so quick, the fastest decline of all 15 he applied to.

"He's a WASP. They don't take them. If he was Black & Female he'd be in at the bottom of his class"

The son-in-law was 4.0 in Chemistry, Second Highest Score in the Midwest on the MCATS, won the Arthur Ash Award for DIII Tennis, did a lot of Volunteer work in Geriatric Medicine.

He's on Full Scholarship at University of Chicago Medical School.

At 8/10/2009 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the point that we should be arguing is how can we can support our black students in testing higher and getting better grades.

First thing would be to get rid of affirmative action. Second thing has to happen in the community they are raised. Third thing would be for them to cut the umbilical cord to Uncle Sugar.

Prior to the Great Society, the black family was intact. Soon as Uncle Sugar said we will take care of you, the family, the building block of society, disintegrated. Now look at the crime, single mothers, and abortion rates. It doesn't have to be.

Who do you want treating you? The guy who busted his behind on his own or the one who filled a quota?

At 8/10/2009 5:03 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Affirmative action mostly helps women, most of whom in this country are white.

Most of the people on welfare in this country are white.

...again, why is it so easy to pick on black people still in 2009? When will it end?

**I once read an old news article in the library that was written in the late 1800s. It was an editorial in one of the prominent newspapers talking about how crazy black people were for complaining about inequality and their state of affairs.

The writer couldn't figure out what was wrong, seeing that it had been almost 50 years since slavery was abolished.

Think about it people...


At 8/10/2009 5:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"... recent data has shown that after residents voted to end affirmative action programs in California, Florida, and Texas, enrollments of Asian Americans in the top public universities in these states increased while conversely, the numbers of Black, Latino, and even (ironically) White students have declined, along with a decline in the number of male students"

Read more:

At 8/10/2009 5:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mother (who is black and has hypertension) just told me that for three years she went to a white male doctor for her annual physical. He did not do any kind of examination on her. He sat about two arm lengths away from her, wrote a prescription for blood work and sent her on her way.

She changed to a white woman doctor and got the same treatment. My mom told her that she was supposed to get a full physical--check her ears, check her lungs, palpate the stomach etc. After that the doctor did as she requested. This doctor ended up closing up her practice due to numerous law suits.

My mother then changed to a black male doctor and got the full physical without asking. He even checked her hands and feet for circulation issues.


At 8/11/2009 12:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

J, my mother-n-law, who is white, diabetic and hypertensive, got the same mistreatment from a white doctor. Her kidneys were damaged from the doctor failing to do any tests to diagnose obvious diabetic symptoms. He didn't care. It is more to do with incompetence than anything else.

It took two more doctors before we found one who knew what they were doing.

Bottom line, med school should be stringent. Because lives are at stake, quotas and quacks should be eliminated.
Families should be promoted, education valued, and self reliance/responsibility a priority. Intact families = stable communities = secure children.

At 8/11/2009 2:12 PM, Blogger Sully said...

The comment string to this post is as interesting as the post itself. Certainly we should be educating black doctors at as high a rate as possible; but it's very hard to get away from the fact that outright curve bending to do that has to create a stereotype that is not good for the black doctors who do emerge from the system.

The answer, or at least a step toward the answer, would be to require the posting of medical school grade transcripts on the internet; but there's little chance of that. And even if there was it would quickly lead to grade inflation, even assuming that doesn't already exist.

At 9/28/2009 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so the way of college accepts the student is NOT by the minority, am i corrected or not? Since Black population in this country much much more than asian. But by race??????

not make sense
I heard that USA is land of oppoutunity
sorry if write not good grammar/word

At 5/01/2010 10:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are the statistics for white M.D.s working in under privileged neighborhoods? Where are the M.Ds who care more about the people being treated than the buck...

Those who feel the need to whine and complain about minorities having it easy are mostly the ones who couldn't get into medical schools, who feel "robbed"

Life's tough - deal with it. No one wants to hear you bitch and complain.

UCSF Class '12

At 5/26/2010 11:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I were in charge, I would not want to lose control or power. A strong, smart, hard-working, and take no bs minority IS A THREAT. He/she threatens to take my white son's, uncle's, niece's, daughter's, or friend's position in the future. I did not steal the land from the natives, build Yale medical school on it, and throw my stolen wealth at the school as an alumnus to eventually lose my comfortable position.


Yale alumnus


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