Thursday, June 24, 2010

Some Minority Chances of Acceptance to Medical School Almost 10 Times Higher Than White/Asian.

Data are now available from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) on acceptance rates at medical schools for all students (data here) and acceptance rates for minority students (Hispanic, Black or Native American, data here), by MCAT and GPA, for the years 2007-2009 aggregated.  From those data, I was able to create the table above for the acceptance rates for non-minorities (I'm assuming white and Asian), and compare to the acceptance rates for minorities, for those applicants with an MCAT score of 24-26 and a GPA between 3.00 and 3.19. 

See updated post here.


At 6/25/2010 3:33 AM, Blogger Richard said...

Please don't take this the wrong way, but this sounds to me that people should insist on having a white/asian doctor when they visit the hospital?

At 6/25/2010 6:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to be careful using the term "minority". White males are now a minority group using U.S. Census data. The correct term to use in legal contracts now is "under-represented groups".

This new term is not just to be politically correct. People get irate and embarrassed when you file a grievance or a lawsuit that a male has a legal claim to a job or as a supplier over a woman because he is a minority as stated in the legally binding contract.

Of course, we still have to answer the question whether any group should have a preference over another group. I think the popular opinion is no, but many laws are written to protect/shield those who are not of the popular opinion.

At 6/25/2010 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First the SAT, Next the MCAT?

A number of schools have decided that prospective students need not take the SAT. In this article, we find out that East Carolina’s medical school has now made the MCAT (medical college admission test) unnecessary for some students. The reason, naturally, is the need for more “diversity.”

Officials say that students admitted under this special, no-MCAT program are “good students,” but we have to wonder if others who took the MCAT and scored well but were not admitted wouldn’t have been better.

National Review

At 6/25/2010 9:52 AM, Anonymous Lee said...

You could argue that the medical profession is a cartel that keeps the supply of doctors low to keep salaries high. Or you could argue that medicine is so difficult that only the students with the highest GPAs and MCATs could master it. But you can't argue both, and I tend to agree with the former.

The bottom line question is whether "underrepresented groups" actually make bad doctors - which given the correlation between GPA and job performance I seriously doubt.

So the medical cartel does not admit its members in a fair way - though probably not in a way that produces less able doctors.

And there are societal benefits to having "underrepresented groups" represented.

At 6/25/2010 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Need a Doctor?
Medical school admission is uncommonly competitive, there being many more applicants than slots. The competition is so intense that if black applicants were held to the same admission standards as whites and Asians, we would turn out almost no black physicians.

We now have a double standard for admission to medical school brought about by affirmative action. As a result, two tiers of American physicians have emerged separated by race and ability.

We have seen that law students admitted under affirmative action do not measure up to their white and Asian peers as law-school graduates. Can we say the same for doctors? We will quantify the performance gap for physicians.

A benchmark for medical competence is the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) Exam Part I. Every medical student in the US must pass it to become a physician. Students take the exam two years before graduation. It is one of several ways the profession keeps itself honest. The most comprehensive study of NBME pass rates was published in 1994 by Beth Dawson et al (JAMA 1994 272:9 674-9). The authors examined the performance of every medical student in the US taking the June exam for the first time over the years 1986, 1987 and 1988. Dawson and her colleagues found that white medical students passed the NBME test at a rate of 87.7 percent and blacks at 48.9 percent. Again, using methods described in Appendix A, we found these pass rates equivalent to a black-white mean difference of 1.19 SD. Mean differences for the bar and NBME exams are conspicuously similar. The one-plus SD gap does not yield easily.

Notably, when Dawson's study looked at entering students with similar academic credentials, the pass rates on the NBME exam were independent of race, pointing an accusing finger directly at affirmative action. For all its good intentions, affirmative action has created two levels of competence in American medicine, separated by a bit more than one standard deviation. When you are wheeled into the ER at 2:00 a.m., if you pray, pray that the black doctor who greets you entered medical school through the front door.

At 6/25/2010 11:34 AM, Anonymous Rand said...

In the old days (say in the 60s), if you wanted a really good doctor, you sought out a black doctor because only the very very best of them got into medical school. Now, I guess, if you are looking for a young doctor, the very very best will be white or Asian.

At 6/25/2010 11:56 AM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

Well, let's apply the same norms to the NFL, NBA and MLB.

I bet there is a great Jewish home run hitter out there somewhere, just being kept out because of his thick glasses.

At 6/25/2010 3:24 PM, Blogger VeracityID said...

Please provide what percentage of all students fall into this category. Also please provide information on what percentage of this group actually graduates and whether their graduating grades differ statistically from those of other doctors.

I have have no problem letting IN weaker minority candidates so long as they must satisfy the same rigorous standards to get OUT as everyone else.

This is probably indicative, but without additional data, I'm not sure I would have published just this one number. But that's just me. I mean it's not wrong or anything.

At 6/25/2010 4:11 PM, Blogger arbitrage789 said...

As a patient, of course I want a doctor who’s competent (regardless of his/her race). But as someone who has had to compete for jobs, and for entry to various schools, it does make me rather resentful when some races are given preferential treatment.

If quotas are such a great idea, perhaps the NBA should have several slots for Chinese basketball players.

At 6/25/2010 5:14 PM, Anonymous Lee said...

Well, given that the entry level GPA/MCAT profile is lower for minority students, it is not surprising that they have a higher failure rate on the boards. But don't you have to pass to be a doctor?

My question is whether there is a difference in doctors - admittedly a very difficult question since I suppose there would be very little data. Also, is a family physician in a rural area better or worse than a brain surgeon?

The NBA example is meaningless. Sports are easy to measure. You are judged in sports by your output, and there any discrimination would never be beneficial. As I recall in Moneyball, there was some discrimination against slow and fatter baseball players, which the manager exploited.

At 6/26/2010 5:34 PM, Anonymous Κασσάνδρα τριάντα said...

MCAT of 24-26 and GPA of 3.00-3.19, fewer than one out of 20 non-minorities will be accepted,

Doctors now use lot of computer programs to crunch the numbers of esoteric conditions, warnings, drug interactions, and prognosis. These programs alert the doctor who has forgotten to examine for this or that, alert the doctor to remove the dressing from the patient he sliced up the day before, etc.

Is high score at memory of technical things now easily overshadowed by high score for dedication and moral fortitude when ethical courage is in short supply? How you going to do it? How you going to measure humanity, caring, a natural instinct for protecting the unfortunate? Do fools rush in with their medical school applications where angels fear to tread too near to the infected stench of dying meat? Should we provide ethnic doctors for everyone to choose from? Should we offer someone that each of downtrodden will naturally trust?

There is a better way. Level the playing field by teaching parents how to teach their children early on how to be successful students, successful pre-med candidates for medical schools. Do you learn your morality in university or during preschool years and from your own parents?

Good luck

At 6/27/2010 11:27 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Lee said - "And there are societal benefits to having "underrepresented groups" represented."

And, what, exactly are those benefits, Lee?

Thomas Sowell here and here, and Shelby Steele have some interesting things to say on the subject of affirmative action.

At 6/27/2010 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a link on the race and ethnicity page that disaggregates the data. See the top right hyperlinks: "View more race and ethnicity applicant data, click Asian, Black, Hispanic, White."

At 6/27/2010 1:23 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Thanks Walt, I'll do an update.

At 9/23/2010 9:11 PM, Blogger Wanjera said...

Stop the whining on here! When these minorities graduate, they normally go back to work in their own communities. Usually the middle class white male that applies to medical school is unwilling to work in these areas and for the lesser money that most of the uninsured in these communities are willing to pay for healthcare. Why can't white people be understanding for once! I am white myself and have been denied admission twice before and I am as cool with this as a gentleman! Try to understand others!

At 9/23/2010 9:22 PM, Blogger Wanjera said...

According to the AAMC, the MCAT is designed to "assess mastery of basic concepts in biology, chemistry, and physics; facility with scientific problem solving and critical thinking; and writing skills." According to several independent researchers however, the skills the MCAT tests relate most closely to the first two years of medical school classroom work but have little relevance in predicting success during clinical training or actual practice as a physician. William McGaghie writes in the journal Academic Medicine: "No physician answers pages of multiple-choice questions when he or she practices clinical medicine…Grades predict grades, test scores predict test score, ratings predict ratings, but attempts to demonstrate scientific convergence among such indicators of professional competence have not been successful."

At 9/23/2010 9:25 PM, Blogger Wanjera said...

The consequences of a shortage of doctors of color would be devastating. More than half of all patients seen by Black doctors are Black; in contrast, White doctors practice in communities in which on average only 5% of the population is Black. Black doctors practice in communities in which nearly half of the population lives in poverty.6 If a state no longer educates significant numbers of Black doctors, it is estimated that communities with large Black populations would be four times as likely to have doctor shortages.

At 9/23/2010 9:26 PM, Blogger Wanjera said...

In fact, since test scores substantially fail to predict success, medical school admissions offices can promote equity and excellence simultaneously by deemphasizing test scores. At the University of California, Davis medical school, a twenty-year study measured the effects of affirmative action policies on promoting racial diversity on campus. Students admitted under affirmative action - 20% of whom as part of their "special consideration" status did not need to meet MCAT and GPA minimums - had graduation rates and performance reviews in residencies that were "remarkably similar" to students admitted under standard criteria.

At 10/06/2010 1:36 PM, Blogger awesome said...

There is a need for more doctors who are willing to take care of their own not white doctors who only care about themselves and money they make. A white woman with a lump in her breast is likely to get diagnosed first while a black woman with the same condition waits 6 weeks for the same treatment. While they wait, they may die.

The reason the numbers seem so high is that not many African Americans go into Medicine. 1 out of 2 black applicants translates into 50%. When there are more asians or whites, the numbers seem much smaller. Moreover, the spots reserved or Minorities maybe number up to 2 seats out of 200 or 300 spots available.
This whole thing is in efforts to make some amends for what white people have done to blacks and the scares that slavery has had. SO Again
GET Over it

At 11/02/2010 11:55 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I'm Native American.
3.87gpa at CSU Fort Collins for Microbiology. 41 on the MCAT. Not that your raping of my people and land were not enough, the people with 3.2's and 30s on their MCAT are not competitive. Instead of blaming, better your scores. And ya, as the above poster said, 'maybe 2 seats'. If you're not competitive enough to get into one of the other seats, perhaps another career is in order for you. You should know that you have a 60% chance of NOT getting in before you even apply.

At 1/16/2011 9:16 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I think minorities being accepted into med schools with their lower scores vs. White ppl being let in at a smaller rate with the same scores is pretty explicable. Only ppl who take the time to contrive a conspiracy where there isn't one would find your "statistics" disturbing. I'd also like to see the socioeconomic status of the applicants (as essays and interviews are compulsory for entry). A White kid in middle-class suburbia earning the same 3.0 as a "minority" from a disadvantaged (ghetto, barrio, favella) area (higher rates of crime & poverty, food security) shows that the minority kid worked his/her butt off to overcome the poor conditions that make simply high school graduation difficult, and thrived.

And the comment of requesting white/Asian docs is idiotic in multiple ways, namely the overwhelming majority of doctors ARE White!! LoL!! Which also pokes a HUGE hole in the whole "holding the White man down" conspiracy!

Surely there are mote productive things you could be doing with your time vs feeling sorry for your average gpa, go study!!

Oh but the blogger moderates... Well at least he/she'll get the message if no one else! :-P

At 12/31/2011 12:49 AM, Blogger Jim said...

I've read all the comments posted on this website. Some are against, some are pro, and some are neutral towards the acceptance or the special treatment that under-represented groups have. In the case of hispanic/latinos (excluding Mexicans and all caribbean population) the main reason why we struggle in the USA is because of the language. Some people may say: "then why don't you go back to your country?" But giving explanations would just be pointless. The truth is that we may be better qualified to become doctors than some whites or asias, but most of you whites (NORTH AMERICANS) do not even have an IDEA of what we Hispanic have to go through since the first day we've been in this country. Struggles such as discriminations, racism, humiliation, being put aside in a conversation just because you do not speak a language you were not exposed when you were born are just a few examples. And what's even more sad is that some of my friends who were born here (white or not) want to become doctors just because of the money they will be earning. And yeah they will save your life and everybody will be happy. But some hispanics want to become Doctors because that is the only think that cannot let them sleep, and when they weak up it is the first thing that comes to their minds. Those whites who were born here should be so thankful for have grown up and still live in their own "firm" land.

At 5/19/2012 3:42 PM, Blogger N/A said...

People making ignorant comments like this is how others develop misconceptions about other communities. I am an African American female with nothing but scientists and lawyers in my family. I finished high school with a 3.7 GPA and an 1350 on my SAT, despite the fact that I was diagnosed with a chronic disease my junior year. I went on to Howard University, the black Harvard, and graduated with a 3.5 GPA and got a 32 on my MCAT and it still took me some time to get into school. The application process is very subjective. Make sure, when you get your statistics, that you also review all aspects of the sample. And while we are talking research stats, studies have shown that standardized tests are geared towards white and Asian males scoring higher than females and minorities. So are you saying that women shouldn't be physicians and researchers because the test isn't geared towards them scoring as high as white males? Thank you.

P.S.-- one of our "white" presidents got into Harvard and maintained a C average during his entire college career and still was appointed to run the country. Just to say that color doesn't mean anything.

At 8/09/2012 12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of you sound like some real idiots. Not everyone is a straight A student, but when they pass the test to become a MD it does not matter whether they made A's or C's. Clearly none of you have thought about what minorities went through to get to the way things are now. I am sure that everyone who has posted ignorant comment never had anyone in thier family that could not read, write, or do simple math. I am sure they really never struggled, been raped, or had to be someone's slave. So you should think before you open your mouth and make your self sound like a real idiot.


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