A new report from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) finds that the number of Black males who are applying to medical school has not increased since 1978. In 1978, 1,410 Black males applied to U.S. medical schools. In 2014, the figure was 1,337. In 1978, 542 Black men matriculated at U.S. medical schools, compared to 515 in 2014.
In 2014, women were 62.2 percent of all African Americans who applied to medical school. In every other major racial or ethnic group, men were a majority of all applicants.
Researchers at the AAMC interviewed a group of Black pre-med students, physicians, and researchers to determine why their has been no progress in increasing the number of Black men in medical schools. Among the barriers to fuller participation in medical education by Black men cited in the report are biases and low expectations for Black men, poor quality education at the K-12 level, lack of Black male mentors in medical education, and the attractiveness of lucrative careers in other STEM fields that do not require as much training.
One major problem is the financial burden of medical education. Nearly 42 percent of all Black male medical school graduates have debt greater than $200,000. A 2006 report from the AAMC found that only 26 percent of practicing Black male physicians said their personal finances were in excellent or very good shape. This compares to 33 percent of Black women physicians and more than half of all White physicians.
The report, Altering the Course: Black Males in Medicine can be downloaded by clicking here.